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Legal attack on Parole Board is bonkers

10 August 2006

Legal attack on Parole Board is bonkers

"The legal appeal of a Christchurch lawyer against the Parole Board for considering deterrence in their decision-making is stark raving bonkers," says Sensible Sentencing Crime Prevention spokesperson Marc Alexander.

"Lawyer Michael Starling is attempting to argue that the Parole Boards only consideration should be whether or not a criminal constitutes an ongoing risk to the community. By doing so, he apparently thinks that 'deterrence' is therefore irrelevant and should not be part of the calculation on a decision to release. I wonder if he would be so quick to defend the rights of these criminals if he, or someone he truly cared about, was a victim of crime?

"It comes to no surprise that such thinking comes from a former prison psychiatrist who probably should spend more time thinking about the interests of the victims created by the very criminals he spent his time with and now advocates for.

"The fact that deterrence is supposed to be a factor in the original sentence, and that the sentence was effectively under review by the possibility of early release means that any consideration of curtailing that sentence must also review its deterrent effect. They cannot be mutually exclusive ideas and is not, as Starling suggests, an invitation to punish twice.

"The Sensible Sentencing Trust isn't usually in the habit of defending the Parole Board but in this case any softening up of the release provisions under which the Board must execute its duties must be resisted.

"The staggering 86% recidivism rates within five years of release doesn't need to be watered down by criminal advocates. We actually need more deterrence not less!"


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