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Scaremongering Reaches New Low

Scaremongering Reaches New Low
David Garrett MP, ACT New Zealand
Wednesday, April 22 2009

The battle against ACT's proposed 'Three Strikes' law has intensified, with Justice officials, Te Puni Kokiri and various lobby groups issuing dire predictions of killings by persons facing a third 'strike' conviction to avoid apprehension and increased levels of family violence. These follow extravagant estimates of increased prisoner numbers, and massive extra costs.

"These alarmist predictions also occurred in California in 1994 when that state's 'Three Strikes' law was passed. Fifteen years later, facts have displaced fallacies. Homicide and robbery have decreased by 50 percent since 'Three Strikes' became law whereas California's population increased by 25 percent during the same period," ACT New Zealand Law & Order Spokesman David Garrett said today.

"This means that the real reduction in violent crime is actually much greater than 50 percent. Far from doubling, as predicted, the prison population has only increased by about 25 percent. The costs of implementing the policy are approximately a quarter of that predicted by the alarmists in 1994.

"A referendum seeking to weaken the law was roundly rejected by California voters in 2004. It was rejected overwhelmingly in districts primarily occupied by poor black and Hispanic people. These are the very people who are most affected by crime in their communities and who were benefiting the most from 'Three Strikes'. Those people could see first hand the effects of 'Three Strikes' on their communities.

"San Francisco liberals living in nice Victorian villas in districts where crime was low wanted to weaken the law - the people most affected by crime did not want a bar of it.

"It seems that those in New Zealand making alarming predictions are not at all interested in the clear evidence readily available of how 'Three Strikes' will actually work. All they are interested in is scaring the National Party into not supporting the policy - whatever the truth maybe.

"One can only wonder at the motives driving both officials and lobbyists such as Re-Thinking Crime & Punishment's Mr Kim Workman, who make unfounded and alarming predictions. Perhaps Mr Workman and officials should visit California and actually talk to people across the spectrum as I did in 2007," Mr Garrett said.


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