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Oakes Case Shows Cure Theory at Work

Oakes Case Shows Cure Theory at Work

The release of Gay Oakes because the parole board thinks she is unlikely to murder again shows the idiocy of justice minister Phil Goff's new deciding criterion for parole, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

Speaking from Amsterdam where has been studying Dutch approaches to crime, Stephen Franks said the parole board's logic would see most domestic murderers released within a few months of their trials.

"Experience shows that virtually all domestic murders involve passions and pressures that rarely recur and the reoffending rate is so low as to be unimportant. Now the Parole Board is applying the theory that punishment can end if the Board thinks the murderer is "cured".

"Most spouses in a rage could calculate that they will be able to persuade the Parole Board that life should mean only long enough to establish that they are unlikely to do it again.

"This makes a mockery of the government's claimed satisfaction with the Lundy minimum sentence. On the parole criterion he would be in the category that should be out before memories of the trial have even faded.

"I believe New Zealanders have never subscribed to the Justice Minister's theory that prison is only for treating criminals. They want punishment that also expresses the horror of the victims and the community, and says that crime will not be worth it.

"The treatment of Gay Oakes is a signal that the price for murder could be worth paying. This is not tough on crime. This is tough on victims," Stephen Franks said.

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