Prison sentences are too soft in New Zealand to the criminals who commit serious crimes and need to be harsher. In New Zealand criminals who commit serious crimes are handed a prison sentence. I strongly oppose the sentencing of criminals currently. I believe justice should be served more harshly. Presently the New Zealand court system is too soft on criminals who commit serious crimes. In 2012, there was approximately 376,000 recorded offences. This resulted in 196,000 convictions.
That’s just above 50%. The recorded offence is filed and the person is free to leave, this high number f convictions, suggests prison sentences are not long enough to combat high offending rates. This results in high recidivism rates In New Zealand many of whom are convicted, reoffend in a very short time frame commencing the first conviction. I believe the sentencing itself is too mechanical and we are too trusting on those on parole. We are putting people at risk in the community.
We are allowing these criminals to re-enter the community prematurely, for the purpose of them having them a better quality of life, especially as they are often not successfully rehabilitated prior to release. Proponents to more harsh sentences say, “If a criminal is to commit a serious crime, chances are they will offend once they get released”. In New Zealand recidivism rates are 52%, this means 52% of convicted offenders will offend in the future. This usually happens within 5 years of their sentence being served.
This is according to Prison Fellowship of New Zealand. Criminals undoubtedly have a negligence and disregard to rules and laws, set by our government. The recidivism figure suggests that Criminals are not remorseful in their actions. Change is needed in regards to how sentences are decided. Disobeying rules is a trong case to suggest that the mental drive for a criminal remains. Many criminals have physiological issues but the intent to disobey laws is present. To ensure the safety of all New Zealanders, harsher penalties need to be served.
Imagine if your child was subject to violence by a criminal and after a short time they were released, potentially living back in your community, how would you feel? I can make the assumption that no parent would be content knowing that a dangerous person was just down the street from their household. Parents always want better for their children than what they had. If there was a way or a parent to remove the potential danger from their child’s life, I’m sure they would take it. Wouldn’t you?
Once in prison, criminals whom commit crimes are screened to identify whether or not they have a mild to a moderate mental health issue. We need to make counselling mandatory, to combat high recidivism rates, so all prisoners can be successfully rehabilitated, counselors need to scope the problems which caused the offenders offence to arise and prevent it from happening again. Longer prison sentences mean not only is the community safe but successful rehabilitation by the criminal is more likely. Counselors have more time to prevent criminals from reoffending.
Chances are that after criminals serve a long sentence, they have learnt from their mistakes. They are less likely to re-offend for fear of going back to prison. When we were young, we were punished for bad behavior, a harsher punishment was a disincentive to act up, and hence we were able to learn from our own mistakes. This is alike to criminals in prison. If the disincentive is high enough, in this case longer prison sentences they will be more likely to not offend and hopefully make a positive contribution to society.
If this was pplied to New Zealand not only would there be fewer criminals, there would also be lower recidivism rate as these criminals have served a long enough sentence to learn from their mistakes and become an asset to our society rather than a burden Sentencing in New Zealand is soft, as it allows tedious crimes to get off on a more minute sentence. This is evident when looking at Murder and Manslaughter charges. Murder is defined as “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another” . Murder is often done in cold blood.
Using forceful actions to pursue the victim’s demise. In comparison, Manslaughter is defined as “the crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought or in circumstances not amounting to murder”. Manslaughter does not result in murder. There has been much debate over the death of “Moko”, a young child. He was brutally beaten over the period of two months. The offenders repeatedly kicked, threw, and stomped on him. This is manslaughter as the offenders did not kill him, but due to his injuries; he died as a result.
There are clear links between his abuse and the death of the child. The guardians did not directly kill him, as a result they got convicted with Manslaughter. Being so young he was unable to seek help himself; consequently, he later died due to the inflicted injuries. This is cruel. The offenders had the intent to harm; this leads to the death of a defenseless and fragile child. .Moko’s offenders, in this 2 months to stop the torture, however, they did not. Their lack of remorse suggests he would have been continually tortured, if intervention did not occur.
He most likely would die later. The grey area between Manslaughter and Murder sentences is evident. When Moko’s offenders were sentenced, protests occurred, the primary topic was the assailant’s getting Manslaughter conviction’s; opposed to Murder. Manslaughter in fact, is as bad physically and morally as murder. In New Zealand, a different approach to the sentencing of manslaughter needs to be taken. This is in regards to the intention of the offender and actions taken to attribute the victim, rather than the case, had outcome. We would see significantly larger sentences for criminals.
Opponents to this will say “this will create inconsistencies”. This is the point. Every criminal is different, treating them like robots. is unacceptable. We need sentencing that incorporates the criminal’s purpose as well as the outcome. This in turn, creates more plausible sentencing for those who disrespect rules we have. Allowing convicted criminals in New Zealand to access Parole after serving a portion of their sentence is often premature. Offenders may have good behavior while in prison, once released often this good behavior does not continue.
In New Zealand, parole allows criminals to enter the community after serving one-third of their sentence. In 2003 alone 48% of criminals who applied for Parole, had it granted. On parole, criminals are kept under strict conditions; breaching them will result in the loss of this privilege. Serving one-third of a sentence and being allowed to access parole is too lenient to the criminal. Serious crimes need to have harsher outlines for Parole, or no opportunity at all. Parole allows criminals to be back involved in our community.
To be taken back to prison, only one breach of their conditions is necessary. For example in 2006 Graeme Burton murdered a victim whilst on Parole. This is an extreme example. It is undoubtedly easy to break these conditions. People who break parole conditions land themselves back in prison. In an extreme example such as Burton, people are put at nnecessary risk, due to conditions not being strict enough to cease actions by the offender. The disregard for parole rules suggests that even on good behavior, a serious criminal still may have the intent to cause harm to an individual.
There is no way to identify someone’s internal thoughts; we only have external characteristics that give us an idea of a criminal’s well-being. If the offender expresses themselves positively, there are more likely to obtain Parole. It’s easy for someone to disguise their internal thoughts and feelings. A longer time in prison allows hese thoughts and feelings to be potentially oppressed, by positive counselling and reflections on prior mistakes. In New Zealand, 20% of girls who are children report unwanted sexual touching.
Wouldn’t you be far more comfortable in allowing a person back into our community, who could be around your children, who has served the majority of their sentence and has received counselling; rather than a person who has only served a small portion and little counselling? I can imagine that most people would be more comfortable with the former. To conclude, criminals should be handed harsher sentences for erious crimes they commit. Criminals have malicious and different agendas in comparison to the normal individual in society.
Harsher sentences are needed to reduce our recidivism rates. No parole means safer communities for New Zealanders. When sentencing a criminal, if history or prior events/actions were taken into account when a criminal was sentenced, rather than the outcome, then harsher sentences would be served. At present this is not the case, New Zealand should be safe for all to live in and harsher sentences to those who commit serious crimes would strongly help the country to achieve this goal.