4 May, 2010
Three Strikes Bill passes second reading
A Bill to ensure the worst repeat serious violent offenders stay in prison for longer, passed its second reading in Parliament today.
The Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill will uphold the Government's election pledge to remove eligibility for parole for the worst repeat violent offenders and incorporates significant aspects of ACT's Three Strikes policy.
The Bill will deny parole to serious repeat violent offenders and those who are guilty of the worst murders and impose maximum terms of imprisonment for offenders who continue to commit serious offences.
"This Bill is specifically focused on those offenders who show no regard for victims, their families or the community, and who are repeatedly convicted for serious violent and sexual offending," Police Minister Judith Collins said.
"Parole is not a right for prisoners. It is a privilege. This privilege is earned, and should not be granted to those who demonstrate total disregard for the law, by continuing to commit serious violent offences despite being warned of the consequences.
"This Bill ensures that the victims of repeat offenders and their families do not have to undergo the additional stress of attending regular parole hearings, or worry that an offender may be released on parole."
Ms Collins acknowledged the ACT Party for their continued commitment to the Bill.
Since the Bill was introduced, changes have been made to ensure consistency in the definition of what constitutes a serious violence offence. This includes five further offences being added to the list of qualifying offences - all of which carry maximum penalties of more than seven years in prison.
In addition, all cases involving offenders on a final warning, who are subsequently charged with committing a serious violent offence, will have their cases heard in the High Court. Only the High Court, the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court will be able to sentence an offender for a stage 3 offence.