Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Three Strikes Bill passes first reading

The Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill has passed its first reading in Parliament.

“This is a significant step closer to delivering on the Government’s commitment to repeal the three strikes law,” Justice Minister, Kris Faafoi said today.

“The three strikes sentencing regime, brought in under the National-ACT coalition government 10 years ago, has not delivered the reductions in serious violent crime they promised it would and nor is there evidence to indicate it has made communities safer,” he said.

“The three strikes law has resulted in unjustified and excessive prison sentences. In one case, a person was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment over an offence for which the sentencing judge indicated they would, ordinarily, have imposed 18 months in prison.”

The Minister said that removing the three strikes regime did not take away the most severe sentencing options available to judges, such as preventive detention, life imprisonment without parole, and extended supervision and public protection orders on New Zealand’s most dangerous criminals.

“Those provisions existed before National and ACT imposed their misguided political will on the judiciary. The same tough sentencing options will still exist when this Repeal Bill is passed,” Mr Faafoi said.

The Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill will now be referred to the Justice Select Committee for consideration.

“This will be the chance for the public and other interested parties to give their views on the Bill and I strongly encourage people to have their say on this important issue,” Minister Faafoi said.

The Bill is not retrospective, he said.

“In the interests of saving victims from the impacts of re-sentencing or reinstatement of eligibility for parole, the Bill does not undo sentences handed down under the three strikes regime.”

“Instead, we are asking Select Committee to consider whether the Bill should include provisions for those who have already been sentenced under the three strikes regime and, if so, how,” he said.

Further information is available on the Ministry of Justice website here: https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/key-initiatives/repeal-of-the-three-strikes-law

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