Wednesday 1 July 2009

Fascinating stuff

Locking people up is a sucky, but necessary thing to do. The SMH has been reporting on crime and punishment lately in a manner that suggest intense disapproval. Take this latest one for instance:
There has been a surge in the number of juveniles on remand in the State's prisons, following a trebling in the number of arrests due to breach of bail conditions.
A surge, or just a return to the tougher sort of environment that used to exist before the namby-pamby, feel-good, "it's all society's faultt" mob took over?
New data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows a 32 per cent increase - from 181 to 239 - in the number of juveniles gaoled while on remand between 2007 and 2008.
239 little crims locked up? That doesn't sound like a lot to me out of a population of 6 million in NSW.
The rise is due to an increase in the rate at which police are arresting juveniles for breaching bail conditions, along with those on remand spending longer in prison, the bureau said.
Hoorah! The little turds commit a crime; they get bail; they go out and commit another crime and the cops nab them for it. However, instead of being let go to commit more crime, they get locked up. What is there to not like about that?
One third of bail breach arrests involved committing another crime, according to a study of a portion of the cases by the bureau.
That in itself tells me everything we need to know about what sort of kids these are - bad. One crime can be dismissed as youthful exuberance or stupidity (been there, done that - but never got caught). But being busted for a crime and being brought in front of a Magistrate should be an experience that causes a person to go, "Whoops, better straighten out and be good from now on". If they don't want to make that change, I won't weep for them. Life is about making choices, not excuses.
However the most common bail condition breached was not complying with a curfew order, which accounted for 35 out of 50 cases, and not being in the company of a parent (29 out of 50 cases).
Curfew order. Something that says, "You will not leave your house at night and fart around with other young crims, causing trouble and stealing the property of others". How difficult is it to comply with that? Stay at home and don't go out and steal stuff. Don't get drunk or stoned (at age 14 or 15). Don't carry a knife. Do your homework.
Also contributing to an increase in the length of time spent in prison on remand was a move by the State Government in late 2007 to block lawyers shopping around for lenient magistrates in the hope of getting bail for their client.
Sounds like a sensible move to me. The government could go a step further and move to dismiss those magistrates. It's times like these that I like the US system of electing judges at this level. Don't like the piss-weak magistrate in your local court? Vote them out.
The Bureau said there was no link between the longer time being spent in prison on remand and the reduction in property crime which has been evident over the past few years.
Really? Amazing bit of logic, that. I'll have to dig the report out and see how they justify that statement.

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