Let’s face it, the Government’s “three strikes” legislation is bad policy, but good politics.
It might also get two little Hitlers a rub’n'tug from Laura Norder.
Getting tough on crime is pure populism. Criminologists are united in arguing that it doesn’t work for a bunch of reasons, but that doesn’t deter the little Hitlers.
Getting tough on criminals has wide appeal to an electorate traumatised by the GFC, as long as the crims getting whoop-ass treatment are of the blue collar, not white collar type. In Paul White’s The Celling of America, the arguments are laid out nicely:
It is perverse logic where the proponents of these type of laws cite with approval the increasing numbers of people receiving such sentences-be it life without parole or the death penalty-claiming they are a deterrent. If such laws were effective the numbers of people being prosecuted under them would decline. Neither the mainstream media nor the politicians have any interest in using logic or common sense in formulating public policy. All these laws will achieve is an increasing number of poor people in prison, more violence and more state repression.
No laws will be passed making corruption by public officials or endangering public health by corporations a “strikes” offense. [Three strikes racks 'em up]
Apart from a mandatory life sentence verging on cruel and unusual punishment, the cost of more incarceration is astronomical. In California it’s an additional $100 million a year. In New Zealand it will cost around $26 million according to Kim Workman of Rethinking Crime and Punishment. New Zealand is already second only to the US in rates of imprisonment and, like the US, there’s a heavily racialised element attached to the numbers.
Three strikes will make this worse. No wonder the Government wants to build more prisons and no wonder too, that the Nationals are sucking up to ACT on making the long-term jailing of Maori youth a profitable little earner for offshore prison-building multinationals.
Three strikes is putting the nation’s future in hock to the lusty greed of two little Hitlers who are gagging for a shag with Laura Norder. As far as the tinpot tosspots are concerned, the must of Ms Norder is an aphrodisiac that will inflame the passions of enough voters to get them a second shot at the title.
It seems “Laura Norder” is always out there prowling our streets and the dark reaches of our subconscious mind. She is a heady mix of fact, fiction and fear and her influence is all pervasive – from the King of Talkback radio to the late night newsreader. But are we really less safe than before? Is the whole thing just fodder for irate columnists and a winner for the politicians? [Looking for Laura]
At least there’s some symmetry now. This week’s announcement brings criminal law into line with the three strikes copyright law for internet pirates. Talk about sense of proportion. The little Hitlers have inflated egos and giant tools.
I’m sure that rooting Laura Norder is one election promise the two little Hitlers are willing to keep.
I’m not judgmental…we all love a happy ending.
Here’s your guilty pleasure for today.
No real Laura Norders were hurt in the writing of this post.
Just a thought: next brain-snap policy from ACT: “No Maori youth left outside”