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Repealing Three Strikes will devastate our communities

Repealing Three Strikes will devastate our families and our communities

11th June 2018

Media Release: Hawkes Bay – EMBARGOED UNTIL 11 JUNE 2018 - Kiwi victims and their families of second and third strike offenders are calling on the Minister of Justice, Hon. Andrew Little, to not repeal the Three Strikes law which it is understood he is recommending to Cabinet next week.

Victims of violent crimes performed by repeat offenders, have come together from all over the country this week to plea against this possible repeal or softening of the law by signing an open letter to the Justice Minister.

The Sensible Sentencing Group Trust (SSGT) which supports victims of violent crimes, says if the law is repealed or softened in any way more New Zealanders and their loved ones will become victims of heinous crimes such murder, assault and rape.

Founder of SSGT, Garth McVicar, says the statistics speak for themselves.
“For over 17 years we have kept an Offenders Database, we can see that the Three Strikes law has had a negligible impact on prisoner numbers – about 1.5% - but a massive effect on Second Strike offending, with a 34% reduction in the numbers of second strikers in the five years immediately following the law coming into force[1],” says McVicar.

“The Department of Corrections has also assessed 88% of second strike offenders as a High Risk of reoffending. There are currently 273 second strikers in New Zealand,” he says.

Other concerning statistics are as follows:

Second strikers have an average of at least 26 criminal convictions on their record
51% of second strikers committed their second strike offence while on bail, parole or subject to a sentence
61% of second strikers also have convictions for home invasion or burglary
38% of second strikers have convictions for offences that are now strike offences, prior to them becoming strike offences (in other words, convictions for serious sexual or violent offences committed prior to June 2010 when Three Strikes started)
There are currently four third strike offenders. All are assessed as a High Risk of reoffending.
Third strikers have an average of 63 criminal convictions on their record.
“Take Billy Matara: He is a second striker who committed attempted murder,” says McVicar.
“He has 129 criminal convictions, is a high risk for reoffending. Under Three Strikes he must serve his entire 10 years, two months term of imprisonment, without being released early on parole. Three Strikes keeps him in prison until at least July 2026. Without Three Strikes he’s out next year,” says McVicar.
“If Hon. Andrew Little goes soft on these criminals he will have blood on his hands,” he says.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) the advocacy arm of the organisation has just commissioned a poll which shows strong public opposition to a softening of the law.
Sixty eight percent[2] of the public support the Three Strikes sentencing law, with only 20% opposed.
“Why change a law that is working well, and saving lives? We appeal to the public of New Zealand to make their voices heard and email Hon. Andrew Little at a.little@ministers.govt.nz and strongly object to any change to the current law,” says McVicar.

[1] https://offenders.sst.org.nz/
[2] http://sst.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Three-Strikes-Poll-Results-March-2018.pdf


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