“…and throw away the key!” by underground

Well-publicised recent murders have again re-ignited the public calls for greater punishment for perpetrators of violent offences. The usual cries come out, life without parole, harsher prison conditions and zero tolerance for offenders. The Sensible Sentencing Trust are, like usual, at the forefront of these calls, as are Bob McCoskrie’s Family First lobby group. Typically, such calls are emotive, usually from someone who has been directly affected by violent crime. Although we should not dismiss their opinions because often they are emotive and vengeful, their opinions usually do not focus on the root of the problem. All too often people’s ideas are not solutions to the problem at all, merely ambulances at the bottom of the hill. This is a complex problem, not one that is going to be solved by a simple answer. There are many factors and solutions to these factors are being all too often dismissed as “PC bullshit” as people lean towards discredited hardnosed solutions. The reactionaries always get their head above the crowd and scream the loudest, calling for blood.

Herald online readers gave their opinion on the debate here.

Expectedly, most are the voice of madness! People who believe violence can be solved with violence and that deterrence will solve the problem. The roots of the problem are delightfully ignored:

Try hard labour, used to work, and those who commit these crime need to feel the punishment, not get a tax paid holiday, which is what the prison system really is these days. Let them know what hard physical pain and mental torment is
People who offend against others don’t really deserve to be part of the human race, don’t kill them by lethal injection or electrocution that’s the easy way, treat them like the animals they are Chain them together, give them a pick axe each and put them in a whole in the ground where they can take there anger out on rocks.

It is time to stop being soft as it is evident that it?s not working and go back to basics

“Troubled” from Auckland Central

Let’s not muck around, there’s only one thing for it. Bring in the death penalty and criminalise gangs.

“Don Trump” from Te Awamutu

What annoys me is that nothing is going to change, unless there is a huge change in the justice system the crime is just going to get worse. These buggers know they can now virtually get away with murder nowadays and just get if anything a smack on the hand.

Bring back the death penalty I say, it should be a life for a life!

“Ja” from Auckland Central

Of course there is always the voice of reason:

* If the USA and England and Wales had the same population size, the USA would have 34 times the number of shooting homicides that the UK has.
* The USA still has the death penalty and all its police officers carry weapons.
* The UK has a much lower rate of these deaths than most countries. For example, Switzerland and Canada have three times the number of shooting deaths.
We need to think very carefully and research and observe other countries experiences before going down the road of arming police. Most police do a great job but we have bad apples as seen in recent rape charges, stuffed up investigations etc.
If we assume that arming police is a panacea to all crime ills then we are not only going to be disappointed we will find ourselves in a place of no return in the not too distant future

Tracey from Balmoral (one of many comments from a very intelligent and articulate woman).

Getting “tough” on crime hasn’t worked in the USA, where crimes rates are 3 times higher than NZ.

I suggest a level headed response(!), one which addresses the causes of crime. If we are serious about reducing crime, maybe we should look at its social causes. Is it mere coincidence that violent crime is prevalent in a low socio economic area like Manurewa? Do people with good jobs and an education go out and commit violent crime.

Can we have some real debate instead of these rabid calls to lock criminals up and cut off various of their limbs?”

Stu from Wellington.

Agree with brightsider (Glendowie)- how about addressing the issues which cause crime, rather than knee jerk reactions about giving police more power, capital punishment?
Prisons are partly about punishment, and also more importantly about rehabilitating criminals. There is no point locking someone up in an isolated room for 10 years. This is not only inhumane, but when they come out of prison they would not be in a state where they can have the necessary skills to socialise in our society.
Look at all the countries with the death penalty- would you actually like to live in them?

“Zombie from Auckland

I think what we often forget is that relative to other countries, this problem is not so great. This is certainly not a reason to turn a blind eye, but it is a reason to keep things in perspective. We also should not ignore the social and cultural factors that influence the crime-rate. Hysterics do not help.

It is a shame we cannot have an intelligent debate on the issue, and solve the root of the problem. Whatever that solution is, we can be certain that tougher punishment is not it. Other countries efforts confirm this. Do people really believe that would be criminals contemplate their sentence before they commit the crime? No, firstly because they do not believe they will be caught. Secondly, because a lot of crime is likely opportunist, where the consequence are not even considered. Thirdly, because some crime is the result of desperation, where people disregard the consequences. And finally, because for some people crime is their life, it is what they do, and they likely know no other way. These are certainly not excuses, but recognising them illustrates the flawed logic in many peoples thinking. Of course I am not an expert, but what we do not seem to see is experts calling for a harder line to be taken. This confirms I am likely on the right track, and the reactionary rednecks and Old Testament lobby groups are missing the point. Just like the Section 59 debate lobby groups sideline those in the know. Lets hear more from the psychiatrists, prison guards, police, sociologists, youth workers and social workers and less from those with populist agendas, politicians and lobby groups.


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Interview Request

Hello Dear and Respected,
I hope you are fine and carrying on the great work you have been doing for the Internet surfers. I am Ghazala Khan from The Pakistani Spectator (TPS), We at TPS throw a candid look on everything happening in and for Pakistan in the world. We are trying to contribute our humble share in the webosphere. Our aim is to foster peace, progress and harmony with passion.

We at TPS are carrying out a new series of interviews with the notable passionate bloggers, writers, and webmasters. In that regard, we would like to interview you, if you don’t mind. Please send us your approval for your interview at my email address “ghazala.khi at gmail.com”, so that I could send you the Interview questions. We would be extremely grateful.


Ghazala Khan
The Pakistani Spectator

Comment by Ghazala Khan

Hey Harper, great minds think alike, check out “This year, vote 1 Laura Norder” at Ethical Martini.

BTW: I think your previous comment might be spam,maybe not, I’d be interested in your interview though

Comment by ethicalmartini

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