ACT believes that protecting the safety and property of its citizens is the government’s most basic job – and the rights of victims should trump the rights of criminals.
People should feel safe at home, in public, and at work. Even non-violent crimes like burglary have a traumatising effect on victims, an effect which is too often ignored by politicians and the legal fraternity.
ACT says we need to be both tough and smart on crime. Firstly, we need to ensure the worst offenders are put behind bars. But secondly, we need to stop the offenders who leave prison from returning to criminal activity.
That means giving prisoners incentives to complete educational programmes that will equip them with the basic qualifications to lead a productive, normal life.
Non-government groups such as the Howard League have volunteers wanting to help prisoners learn to read – we just need to break down the administrative barriers.
Finally, we need to be smarter at using police resources. Too much police time goes into chasing minor traffic offences and petty drug use. Taxpayers fund police to actually solve burglaries and prevent violence – not to play nanny state.
- Introduce Three Strikes for Burglary, meaning someone convicted of a third burglary offence gets three years in prison.
- Reward prisoners who complete literacy programs and driver licensing tests with reduced sentences. Do the same for prisoners who volunteer to teach in these programs.
- Scrap red tape that stops ordinary New Zealanders from volunteering in prison education and rehabilitation programmes.