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

Gordon Campbell:
On The Inadequate Response To Sexual Violence Prevention

On combatting sexual violence, the government has finally begun to undo some of the problems that were of its own making. Early in March, ACC launched the Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims scheme – a package aimed at improving the attitudes of ACC staff towards sexual violence victims, and offering them more substantive support.

Hopefully, this will help to reverse the damage done with the insensitive, punitive ACC policy put in place by the incoming Key government in 2009, which in some parts of New Zealand, saw 90 per cent of sexual violence victims being turned away by ACC. More>>

 
 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

"To Help Families Get Ahead": April 1 Changes Kick In

Prime Minister John Key says Paid Parental Leave, the parental tax credit, the minimum wage and Superannuation will increase, while average ACC levies will fall, and more people will be helped in to home ownership... More>>

ALSO:

Climate: Ministers Exclude Emissions From ‘Environment Reporting'

The National Party Government has today revealed that the national environmental report topics for this year will, incredibly, exclude New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

No Retrial: Freedom At Last For Teina Pora

The Māori Party is relieved that the Privy Council has cleared the final legal hurdle for Teina Pora who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sent to prison for 22 years. More>>

ALSO:

Germanwings Crash: Privacy Act Supports Aviation Safeguards In New Zealand

Reports that German privacy laws may have contributed to the Germanwings air crash have prompted New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner to reassure the public that the Privacy Act is no impediment to medical practitioners notifying appropriate authorities to a pilot’s health concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Taranaki Iwi Ngāruahine Settles Treaty Claims For $67.5mln

The settlement includes a $13.5 million payment the government made in June 2013, as well as land in the Taranaki region. The settlement also includes four culturally significant sites, the Waipakari Reserve, Te Kohinga Reserve, Te Ngutu o te Manu and Te Poho o Taranaki. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Funeral In Asia, The Northland By-Election, And News Priorities

Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny lies in Asia, and that was one of Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s rationales for his bungled reforms at MFAT. OK. So, if that’s the case why didn’t Prime Minister John Key attend the state funeral on Sunday of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew? More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Not Flag-Waving; Flag-Drowning

The panel choosing the flag options has no visual artists at all. Now, I’ve kerned the odd ligature in my time and I know my recto from my French curve so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions before they get past their depth. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news