No connection between Three Strikes and Drop in Crime Rate

Press Release – Rethinking Crime and Punishment

No connection between Three Strikes and Drop in Crime Rate “Any political party that plans to go into the election claiming that three strikes has been a factor in reducing the crime rate, should first consult with the government’s Chief Science …No connection between Three Strikes and Drop in Crime Rate

“Any political party that plans to go into the election claiming that three strikes has been a factor in reducing the crime rate, should first consult with the government’s Chief Science Adviser, or the Ministry of Justice” says Kim Workman, or Rethinking Crime and Punishment. “Claims of that kind should either be based on empirical evidence, or not made.”

“There is at present, no evidence that three strikes legislation has deterred offenders from committing crime. In fact, there is no evidence anywhere in the world that the threat of prison or severe punishment is a deterrent.”

“If that were true, the death penalty would reduce murder. In the United States, the murder rate in those states with the death penalty has been consistently higher than those who do not have it, for at least twenty years.”
“Garth McVicar recently claimed that Judges love the sentence, and the public think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. However, very few people know what Three Strikes is. An ACT telephone poll in 2009 showed that only 55% of the public had heard of it. Rethinking conducted an informal survey of 35 offenders recently, and only seven had heard of three strikes, but couldn’t describe how it worked.”

“David Garrett is on record as claiming that three strikes law was responsible for a 50% reduction in both homicide and robbery convictions in California. What we know is that five years before three strikes was introduced, there was a significant crime drop across the US and Canada. If he was right, the rate of decline should have increased after the legislation was introduced. Instead the decline remained constant, indicating that the decline was due to the factors that existed before the legislation was introduced.”

“Mr Garrett failed to compare the impact across the 22 states that introduced three strikes legislation, with those that didn’t. When California’s decline in crime was compared with the national average, it showed that New York, not California, had the sharpest decline in crime during the time in question. New York does not have three strikes legislation.”

“Even in California, the results were unclear. Californian counties that aggressively enforced the law had no greater declines in crime than did counties that used it far more sparingly. One study found that crime dropped by 21.3 percent in the six most lenient “three strikes” counties, compared to a 12.7 percent drop in the toughest counties.”

“The Ministry of Justice forecast and the Police are our most reliable source. The Ministry credits the drop in the crime rate, and in imprisonment to demographic changes, to changes in Police reporting, alternative dispositions (diversion, pre-charge warnings and neighbourhood policing), improvements in community security, and proactive targeting of serious crime. Mention three strikes as the primary cause, and they fall about laughing.”

“The Ministry of Justice should evaluate the impact of three strikes legislation in reducing crime, over the next three years. In that way, social and political commentators can base their views on evidence, rather than wishful thinking.”

ends

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url