Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Do the crime, do the time

As far as shake-ups of the prison system go, it's not huge - but the news that Corrections Minister Judith Collins is going to consider implementing a Maori Party proposal to open a rehabilitation centre for a few dozen Maori inmates who have served most of their sentence and met good behaviour criteria has still been deemed the most newsworthy story of the day. Now why could that be?

The article itself, by the reliable Patrick Gower, is pretty good, apart from the kneejerk consultation of Act MP/Sensible Sentencing Trust moaner/general sourpuss David Garrett, but the subeditor on the story has really gone to town on it. The headline, "Minister backs separate prison unit for Maori" seems dangerously misleading; there are apparently 4188 Maori inmates in New Zealand, and 60 beds in the proposed centre - maybe the rest of them will sleep on the deck chairs by the pool. And the sub-headline - "Collins keen on idea of fewer jailers and more 'healers' if it can help reduce crime rate" - seems determined to to infuriate the various rednecks and racists who populate the seedy world of "Your Views". Speaking of which...

It turns out to be quite a 'fun' game to read the Herald and try to guess which articles are going to be posted as "Your Views" questions. This one jumped right out at me as meeting a bunch of the criteria: law and order issue; government being 'soft on crime'; bludging Maori. And guess what - when I clicked the shortcut button that takes me right into the centre of the swirling maelstrom of fury and bad grammar, there it was: "Do you think an 'alternative rehabilitation centre' will help reduce Maori crime rates?" Hold your nose people:
Mumbles (Mt Eden): [...] There would also be inconsistencies in sentencing, a European rapist may get 14 years but a Maori rapist gets "healing" and a conference in a quasi marae ?
Yes, because that's exactly what the article said.

Fed Up (Christchurch): What next, seperate prisons for Gangs also. I thought we voted out the PC Nannies, but it appears this Government are now becoming just as bad as the last lot, giving in to Minority Groups.

Sorry, if you do the crime you do he time, regardless of race creed or colour. What next? Maori Child care centres, Maori Courts, Seperate Maori Toilets, sound familiar, this is what South Africa got away from, but it was White everything. This country is becoming a Racist State against everyone other than Maori.

You're right - bloody Nanny Maoris. First they steal all our money in Treaty 'settlements', now they are stealing all our prison population. But it's worse than you think - the Maori-only prison will have Maori-only toilets. Someone call Nelson Mandela at once.

Duncan Smith (Onehunga): [...] The people running it, who dont give a flying banana about rehabilitation, just their salaries and their new high profile positions will promptly embezzle as much as possible.
The "prisoners" will be forgotton, with it becomming a holiday camp for them - lounging by the pool, smoking P, all at the taxpayers expense.
[...]Differential treatment based on race is racism. One country, one law - you don't like it - move!

I love how Duncan's conception of prison seems awfully like a hip hop video. And how are they supposed to move if they are locked up in prison? You didn't think it through, Duncan.

Now, of course it's fun to point and laugh at the people on YV. But the main culprit here is the Herald; when you take what is a good article about a topic of reasonable interest - although all that has happened is that a minister is interested in hearing more about a proposal - and make it the main story with a misleading headline, then throw it on YV, you do journalism a disservice. Lock 'em up and throw away the key - hanging's too good for 'em.


  1. Oooh my favourite is the "Escape From the Auckland Islands" scenario where we just drop them off to fend for themselves.

    That satisfies victims' rights, is low-cost, brutal enough to be a deterrent and would work equally well for criminals of all races.

  2. Just when I thought I was out, stories like this pull me back in. Wilful damage of a bag of feta cheese. Fantastic.

    Just quietly, 180 hours sounds like a lot of community service to me...

  3. As an enlightened Gustav once said, just let them have the South Island...

  4. I'm with you there. Reading the YV page just makes me, well, kinda glad I left. Before moving to the UK someone told me that NZ was more conservative/less progressive than the UK. I thought that was poppycock. On the whole now I definitely have to agree.

    That the herald gives these morons an encouraging platform to reiterate their racist bullsh!t is irresponsible, but doesn't really discount the fact that these people exist, vote, and do jury service.

    Hey guess what I have no hope AND no solution.

  5. Not to come across all chauvinist, but check out the delights of (which I think has been pointed out on these comment pages before) before assuming that the general public in England (NOT BRITAIN, as they like to say) is more enlightened than the NZ Your Views crew.

  6. I remember reading the awful awful comments left in regards to the school teacher that was found out to be a prostitute. It was absolutely disgusting. Whatever happened to her?

  7. "a European rapist may get 14 years but a Maori rapist gets "healing" and a conference in a quasi marae ?"

    Yes, we're totally biased against Europeans, especially rich, famous ones who get unfairly heavy sentences of 9 months' supervision for piffling crimes such as kicking a woman in the bakc when she's lying on the ground/

  8. I don't think you're being fair on the Herald - surely showcasing the opinions of ordinary angry NZers on controversial topics they know nothing about is better journalism than merely parroting the elitist professional opinions of experts.

    I reckon the Herald is doing a great job as the voice of ordinary disenfranchised punters against the PC nanny state feminist special-interest establishment.

    That is the proper role of a newspaper in a democratic society right? It's been a while since I studied this stuff.