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

Urgent Bill Planned:
MP Pay Rises To Match Public Service

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency.

Mr Key says the decision was made after the Remuneration Authority’s latest determination which saw the total remuneration received by MPs increased by about 3.5 per cent...

The new legislation will be backdated to 1 July 2014, meaning the pay increase outlined in the latest determination will not be awarded. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

PM's Press Conference: MP Pay Rises, Solid Energy, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key answered questions in his Post-Cabinet press conference about the Iraq deployment, Solid Energy and National’s decision to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act. More>>

ALSO:

Worksafe: MSD Charged Over Work And Income Ashburton Shooting

WorkSafe NZ has laid one charge against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in relation to the shooting at the MSD Ashburton office on 1 September 2014 in which two Work and Income staff were killed and another was injured. More>>

ALSO:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza? More>>

ALSO:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news