From The Hood: Think Crimes

Lyndon Hood installs a crime-prevention camera in the Justice Minister’s mind.

The story of Toby, who behaved very badly and was devoured by Judith Collins – corrections, justice, three strikes
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Pity Simon Power.

On his sofa watching The Shawshank Redemption, crying into his ice cream while Judith Collins and Rodney Hide announce a new Three Strikes plan.

The Minister of Corrections and the Minister of Local Government.

Who cares if it’s a Justice bill. I didn’t want to announce it anyway.

He hasn’t checked the rules but he has a horrible feeling he might be required to defend the bill in Parliament. Perhaps he could go on some kind of holiday.

‘Three Strikes’. Honestly.

Simon reminds himself that New Zealand does, actually, do quite well at softball. It doesn’t help.

At least he knows now what was happening. Why Judith and Rodney had all those meetings ‘about crushing cars in the super city’. That ‘dodgy lock’ that kept shutting him out of John Key’s office.

That time in Cabinet when they said they were hungry and sent him to the Supreme Court to fetch a slice of statutory tort. And he went, too, even though he knew statutory torts do not come by the slice.

And fair enough. If they wanted a plan that is tough on criminals – while avoiding anything that might actually reduce crime – the last thing they needed was input from someone who actually understood criminal justice. Or might consider how hard it is finding staff for the prisons we have now.

A plan they could credibly (or at least, assertively) say is to make the streets safer. A plan which seems, to Simon, designed to make bad people worse.

Rodney and his mates apparently think that criminals make rational, benefit/loss decisions, that repeat offenders are the sort to be deterred by the threat of punishment. But then, if they made their decisions based on reason, they wouldn’t have already committed multiple serious offences against the state.

Neither would the criminals, come to think of it.

All that for policy Simon thought was only going to first reading because of the coalition agreement, which has now been made harsher.

A policy ACT only has because nobody would vote for their actual policies.

A policy Judith Collins is only so keen on because of… because of something to do with being Judith Collins.

Criminals sometimes believe the justice system is motivated by disproportionate malice rather than a measured response to their illegal actions. That kind of idea is detrimental to their ability to change their ways, and now Simon is beginning to wonder if they are right.

Not that Simon would ever commit a serious violent offence.

Wouldn’t think of it.

Simon learned to stop being annoyed a long time ago. Judith feeds on outrage.

Whatever. It’ll take most of a decade to even start kicking in. So that’s all right.

It’s not Simon’s problem.

It’s not my problem.

And when all these high-risk offenders start getting dropped into this strange outside world without the supervision of parole, ACT will never lack horrific crimes to hitch their wagon to. And National will never want for a coalition partner.

It might not be as bad as it looks. There could be a plan.

Like, you propose implementing your stupid policy in a really daft way, then after submissions you ‘listen’ and implement your stupid policy in a practical way. Which leaves everyone relatively relieved.

Simon might hope they are doing that. That would be the wise thing to do.

One the other hand, any meeting of minds between Judith Collins and David Garret is unlikely to be chaired by Captain Sensible.

It’s not like Simon doesn’t have dreams of his own. He has a intricate scheme to refine the court system until it is as swift and efficient as a coin toss. This is coming along nicely. Simon should be happy.

Box of birds, me.

Simon has been having nightmares.

Like the one where he’s telling Rodney Hide that A-list murder victims, whose killers would still have been in jail, isn’t really enough to prove three strikes will make the whole country safer. So Rodney smiles, and produces the secret list of people who are alive now, who would have been dead under his plan, to compare it with.

Or the one where he wakes up with neat puncture marks on his abdomen, and knows that Judith has returned, sucking the lilyness out of his liver. And that he’s tried to warn his colleagues for weeks, but their eyes just seem to glaze over, like when he tries to tell them about the consistency with fair trial rights of the requirement to identify issues in dispute.

Simon can’t help reaching under his shirt to check.

Nothing there. Just a dream.

Simon had forgotten there was baseball in The Shawshank Redemption. He stops the movie, and puts The Boomtown Rats on the stereo.

Tell me why
I Don’t Like Mondays
Tell me why
I Don’t Like Mondays

Outside, people keep committing crimes.

Poor old Simon Power.


Judith Collins monster devouring prisoner
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