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Why isn't anyone listening? The answer is obvious


Marc My Words.

Why isn't anyone listening? The answer is obvious.

By Marc Alexander

If we're serious about reducing violent offending, we must take a more aggressive approach to our criminal justice system. It's obvious that while harsher sentencing for violent crimes is justified, unless that is backed up with faster judicial processes, earlier interventions and a seamless accountability regime, we will never get on top of the scourge of crime in this country.

Judge Becroft has said that we need to detect potential offenders before the age of five and put enough resources to make positive changes in their lives. If we can do that, then it's clear we'll be making enormous changes in the lives of all New Zealanders because we'll have fewer crimes.fewer offender related costs and, most importantly, fewer victims.

We need to harden up and realise that the problem will not go away if we just mouth trite slogans about offenders themselves being victims. It's true that some criminals have had a terrible start to their lives but that can never be a justification for their offences.

Why do we mollycoddle criminals and continually give them the benefit of doubt at the expense of the innocent? Think of Jules Mikus who had been in trouble for sexual offending before he was 17, racked up three more convictions by the age of 28 (sexual offences including two against children), and later went on to abduct, rape and murder Teresa Cormack. Think now of the ridiculous sentence imposed on former scout leader Alexander Ian Clark. He received just two and a half years for indecent assault and poisoning three boys with isobutyl nitrite. One of the boys, Tim Hueston later killed himself.

What message are we sending to future offenders? What are we telling victims about how we value them? Surely commonsense should dictate that we have to start with rigorous early interventions, bring wayward parents to account, make offenders fully accountable in a timely fashion with sentencing that takes into account the suffering brought on victims.

Every time we give an offender a second chance we could be denying any chance to their next victim. Second chances? We need to get real!

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