Prisoner advocates welcome repeal of “brutal, pointless” three strikes law
Prisoner advocacy organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA) is pleased to see the repeal of the “three strikes law”.
The “three strikes law” was passed in 2010 with the Sentencing and Parole Reform Act. The law dictates that serious repeat offenders “strike out” after their third offence, and must receive the maximum penalty without parole.
“This law is just one example of useless grandstanding by tough-on-crime governments,” says PAPA spokeswoman Emilie Rākete. “Tough on crime policies do not work as a deterrent, instead just funneling more people into prisons, which fail to rehabilitate them.”
“Repeat offending doesn’t happen because people are failing to learn their lesson,” says Rākete. “Reintegration into society is extremely difficult for ex-prisoners. They are discriminated against in housing, for jobs, and in every other area which is necessary for living a normal life. Forcing more people into precarity only deepens New Zealand’s crisis of incarceration.”
According to Rākete, New Zealand should welcome the repeal of the “three strikes law” as a step towards a less punitive criminal justice system, but more work must be done to reform our sentencing laws.
“The Bail Amendment Act 2013 has contributed almost a third of the growth of our prison population since it was passed. This law has caused thousands of people who have not been convicted of any crime to be held in prison, sometimes for months, or even years.”
“The Bail Amendment Act 2013 is part of why our prison population is so enormous. It must urgently be repealed as well.”
“If we recognise that rehabilitation occurs best outside of prisons, then we have to question the utility of using prisons at all. If we want to genuinely rehabilitate people and prevent social harm from occurring, the abolition of prisons is the only solution.”