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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The cost of Vengeance

'Three strikes' crime policy costs disputed
Prime Minister John Key says estimates that the ACT Party's "three strikes and you're out" sentencing policy will cost more than $30 billion over 25 years do not stack up. Rethinking Crime and Punishment director Kim Workman said many new prisons would be needed as a result of the policy, costing $7.5b with an additional $1b a year in operating costs. The Government agreed to support the three strikes policy through its first reading as part of its support agreement with ACT. It was included in the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill which has gone to a select committee for consideration. A "strike offence" was defined as the most serious violent and sexual offences, including murder, attempted murder, grievous bodily harm, serious firearms offences, rape and a range of sexual offences on children and young people. On the third strike the offender would get mandatory life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 25 years. Mr Key said the Government was reserving judgment on whether it would support the policy further. "We need to see what comes out of that select committee. But there's a fair bit of merit in it, we're not giving it lip service," he told NewstalkZB. "We think it's potentially workable and we've asked for advice on it." Mr Workman said Corrections Department figures showed there were 16,000 offenders who were convicted of three or more serious crimes since 1980. Of those 2000 are now in prison. If the policy was introduced in 1980 the total prison population would now be 22,000 meaning there would have been between 44 and 48 prisons in New Zealand, rather than 20. Mr Workman estimated costs were $500,000 a bed when a new prison was built which was how he came to the $7.5b figure. On top of that would be $1b a year annual operating costs. He said it cost $75,000 a year per inmate. As well, prison populations were already growing.

Mr Key said he did not accept the argument. "I don't think that quite stacks up."

Oh it stacks up Mr Key, as Tumeke predicted, ACT's three strikes and you are screwed death penalty fantasist law and order policy is going to cost an arm and a leg - $30 billion over 25 years, how the hell can anyone seriously suggest that spending $30 Billion to lock NZers up is a better way of dealing with crime than pumping even a half of that into early intervention? Hate has warped our social policy and in a time of extreme economic recession we are being told to pay for that hate.

Only in 'lynch em first and ask questions second' NZ.


At 25/2/09 2:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This hate is just going to cost us too much

At 25/2/09 3:30 pm, Anonymous Jade said...

I agree, $30 billion is just too much to lock people up forever.


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