Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


23 Bail Murders survey reveals lack of early intervention

23 Bail Murders survey reveals lack of early intervention for vulnerable offenders

“A survey of 20 of the 23 offenders who committed murder while on bail since 2006 showed that most of the offenders presented a number of unresolved background issues which if dealt with earlier through the criminal justice system, could have prevented the offence” says Kim Workman of Rethinking Crime and Punishment. Rethinking has carried out a study of the Judge’s notes in 20 of the 23 cases, to determine whether there was any clear offending patterns or trends which could potentially reduce the number of murders.

“These cases do not suggest a failure in the bail system, although there was not sufficient information to make that assessment. If there was a failure, it was the lack of early intervention for people likely to re-offend.”

“The one recurring theme was the problematic background of many of the offenders. In 15 of the cases there were drug or alcohol abuse issues, ten of the offenders grew up in difficult family environments, nine offenders had some form of psychological issue, six were involved with gangs, three had limited formal education and one was a refugee. Some pundits would argue that these issues seem to suggest a pattern that could be examined in order to tighten up bail laws and prevent future offending of this nature. However, these issues are pervasive throughout the New Zealand criminal justice system. Around 80% of all prisoners have drug and alcohol issues, around 90% have literacy issues, and at least 40% have diagnosable mental health issues. Greater restrictions around bail in relation to these would affect such a large number of offenders that the cost and resources required would outweigh any benefits. It could be counter-productive, in that the experience of imprisonment is known to increase the likelihood of reoffending.

There were no clear patterns around the circumstances which led to the murder. . There were 4 murders with no apparent reason, 3 that were gang related, 3 involving theft and 3 that involved historic disputes, while there was an assortment of reasons for the remaining offences. This suggests that there were not any issues, such as ongoing domestic disputes, that were being neglected in the bail decisions.

In contrast to this there were also 2-4 offenders with very minor criminal records and 5 offenders who were 20 years old or younger. While this is comparatively small proportion of offenders, it is still concerning given the speed at which their offending escalated. In fact, there were some cases where the judges specifically commented on the rapid escalation in offending, from relatively minor offences to violent offences and, finally, to murder in a short space of time.

There is a clear message here. Our prisons have become de facto institutions for the mentally ill, the illiterate, and those with serious drug and alcohol issues. Increased investment in early intervention, community based treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, and the rapid expansion of problem solving courts, could reduce serious crime. Increasing imprisonment levels just defers the problem, and causes more crime.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news