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SST congratulates ACT on rehabilitation policy

SST congratulates ACT on rehabilitation policy

27th February 2017

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is congratulating the ACT party on their new policy on prisoner rehabilitation. http://act.org.nz/law-and-order/

Trust founder Garth McVicar, today said: “Ultimately, New Zealanders want to see a reduced level of offending, particularly by recidivists. This policy announcement is worthy of detailed consideration.

“So long as it is not a ‘Get out of jail free card’ and substantially reduces reoffending, then it may be a worthwhile addition to the corrections system.

“The devil is in the detail. It must not apply to murderers or those sentenced to preventive detention. But for many others, it has the potential to deal with some of the factors driving their criminal offending. The potential of a policy like this is that it can reward people for actually achieving a positive outcome” said Mr McVicar.

SST is encouraging the new Minister of Corrections, Louise Upston, to consider it.

Alongside consideration of this policy, SST believes the trade-off is to abolish the outdated and abused sentencing concept of ‘remorse’, which the Sentencing Act requires be considered.

“Remorse is the easiest thing in the world for offenders to claim, particularly when a defence lawyer is speaking for you” said Mr McVicar. It is rarely genuine, and simply used as a way to reduce the sentence imposed. Everyone involved in the system knows this to be true.

“Every person committing an offence serious enough to be imprisoned should be remorseful for their appalling actions. It is a baseline community and victim expectation. It is not something that should attract a discount” concluded Mr McVicar.

ACT’s policy could well be a valuable reward-for-outcome, while discounts for the nebulous concept of remorse should be abolished. ENDS

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