Labour’s goal of a safer society doomed to fail

KiwiBlog 24 February 2018
Family First Comment: Excellent commentary by ex-ACT MP David Garratt….
“The first thing Labour needs to change is the common leftie perception that most prisoners are hapless boys who have had one lamentable lapse – a sudden mad or drugged urge to commit an aggravated robbery perhaps. The reality is very different. The average prisoner has 46 convictions – yes you read that right – forty six , and has served the gamut of non-custodial sentences before finally being incarcerated. Of the 5% who have less than five convictions, they will invariably be in prison for murder or a very serious assault….”
“….In my view there are only two ways to achieve the safer society that Little says he wants. First and best would be to stop pretending that every form of whanau is equal, and admit that a stable two parent family is best for society. To acknowledge that there is in fact a universal moral code to which all civil societies subscribe – the ten commandments contain the main elements of it: not stealing from ones fellows; not bashing or killing them; recognizing that parents are in a better position than some 14 year old punk to decide what is and isn’t good for that young person. Sadly, despite the efforts of groups like Family First, such a change is most unlikely.”

Andrew Little has said he is utterly committed to creating a safer New Zealand – a laudable goal, but one which he simply cannot achieve given Labour’s present assumptions about offending and penal policy. His colleague Kelvin Davis wants to reduce the prison population by 30% – impossible unless we release those convicted of violent offences. Some leftie claimed on National Radio the other day that the jails are “full of people convicted of cannabis offences”. This is a myth. In fact, only 12% of the prison population are there for drug offences, the vast majority of them for manufacturing, distributing or importing P. None are in jail for possession of cannabis.

The first thing Labour needs to change is the common leftie perception that most prisoners are hapless boys who have had one lamentable lapse – a sudden mad or drugged urge to commit an aggravated robbery perhaps. The reality is very different. The average prisoner has 46 convictions – yes you read that right – forty six , and has served the gamut of non-custodial sentences before finally being incarcerated. Of the 5% who have less than five convictions, they will invariably be in prison for murder or a very serious assault.

Do-gooders like Workman like to mock people like me by suggesting that we have an unreasoning and irrational fear of a mythical “Other”; that those in jail are really pretty much ordinary people, just like the rest of us. While this picture may have been at least partly true 50 years ago, it is emphatically not so today. By and large, prison inmates are fundamentally different from the rest of us. They are people who have not only utterly rejected, but laugh at the principles by which most of the rest of us try to live: not to steal from or beat up our fellows; not to take advantage of the weak; to try and help the vulnerable, or at least not to do them further harm. They are indeed “The Other”, and we justifiably fear them.

How did we get here? By two main routes in my view: firstly by abandoning the idea of a universal moral code to which all decent members of society should subscribe, evidenced by the decline both of organized religion, and the ideal of service above self. All the members of Bomber Command in WW II – of whom 30% never returned – were volunteers. Does anyone really imagine that would happen today?

We declared two generations ago that the “ordinary” nuclear family of Mum Dad and the kids was no better than any other family – or whanau, as it is now. We declared that society had no business criticising a solo mum with five kids to three different fathers – a whanau that may have utterly different values to the mainstream. And we have reaped the consequences of that foolishness.
READ MORE: https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2018/02/guest_post_labours_goal_of_a_safer_society_doomed_to_fail_unless_there_is_a_radical_re-think.html

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