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.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On John Key’s Trip To Iraq

In the embedded press coverage on this trip, the absence so far of any evaluation of the wider context of what New Zealand thinks it is doing at Camp Taji has been striking. More>>


Labour: Parata Puts Brakes On Charter School Appraisal

“When the Ministry of Education recommended they compare the achievements of children at charter schools to those of their counterparts at state schools, the documents show Hekia Parata specifically prohibited them from doing so." More>>


Bad Day For Universities: Gun, Bomb Threats On Three Campuses

Dunedin Police are continuing their investigation into the threat made against the University of Otago. Staff are following a number of lines of inquiry, and police are working to verify the authenticity and source of the post. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Deal Reached In Atlanta

Yes, the TPP has helped to knock a few points off the tariffs facing our exporters. Yet some of those alleged dollar gains may well have been made regardless over time – and without the negative baggage of the concessions in the non-trade areas (intellectual property, copyright extensions, investor-state dispute mechanisms etc) that the TPP deal also brings in its wake. More>> (Cartoon by Dave Wolland)

Public Summaries:


Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Pre-Signing: Gordon Campbell On The TPP Countdown

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news