Thursday, March 12, 2009

Victimless crimes and imprisonment

First I reiterate a part of a post from earlier in the week;

"The fact is: if you don't want to be assaulted - or worse - by a cellmate, avoid prison by not committing a crime," Mr Garrett said.

My response;

I wonder if Mr Garrett has forgotten that there are people in our prisons who are not violent; people who are guilty only of victimless crimes; people who should properly be in the care of psychiatrists and nursing staff; people who are on remand awaiting trial who may not even be convicted.

Mike E then referred to people imprisoned for "smoking pot" and was challenged by Mr Garrett to produce an example.

They may be unusual but certainly not unheard of.

This is from the 2002 Health Select Committee cannabis inquiry report:

p32: "Of the 9,399 prosecutions for the use of cannabis, 6,761 resulted in convictions, and 52 custodial sentences were imposed."

And from parliamentary questions;

Question 8479 (2004)

Question by Hon Tony Ryall to the Minister of Corrections:
June 14th 2004

How many inmates were imprisoned for possession of drugs but not manufacture or supply of drugs in each of the past five years, detailing how many had previous drug convictions and previous custodial sentences?

Hon Paul Swain (Minister of Corrections) replied:

The total number of inmates imprisoned for possession of drugs but not manufacture or supply of drugs in each of the last five years is as follow:

1999 431 inmates
2000 430 inmates
2001 443 inmates
2002 386 inmates
2003 411 inmates
2004 157 inmates (up to 31 May 2004)


While most sentences would have been for drugs other than cannabis, these substantial numbers represent the victimless crimes alluded to.

(Many thanks to Chris Fowlie of NORML for the speedy provision of information)

13 comments:

MikeE said...

Also:

"Michael, there have definitely been people who have gone to jail solely
for cannabis, especially repeat medical "offenders" like Danuiel Clark,
Neville Yates, plus some people I know: Brian Borland, Ken Morgan, Mike
Finlayson... I'm not sure about anyone being inside right now though.

This is from the 2002 Health Select Committee cannabis inquiry report
(attached) - have a read of pages 32-35 or so...

p32: "Of the 9,399 prosecutions for the use of cannabis, 6,761 resulted
in convictions, and 52 custodial sentences were imposed.... The use of
police diversion, rather than a criminal conviction, for cannabis use
offences remains very rare."

p34: "Police state that officers generally detect the majority of
possession offences at the street level in association with other
matters such as disorder and other behavioural offences, or through
vehicle searches directly related to road safety issues. We remain
unconvinced by this, noting that 42 percent of convictions for cannabis
do not include other offences. These offences usually involve very small
amounts of cannabis. In most cases, the police deal with these offences
by way of arrest and prosecution. Of the 13,000 offences (procurement,
possession, smoking, using cannabis) during the 2000–01 financial year,
a total of 8,143 were dealt with by way of prosecution. Only 399 were
dealt with by way of diversion."
"

Redbaiter said...

Gawd you Libz are twisters. Mike was challenged to provide the name of some ordinary mainstream dope using NZer who is in jail today for that offence, and htis is what the $100 wager was about.

MIkeE is boasting all over the blogosphere that Mr. Garret owes him $100.

This is false.

MikeE has not won his bet and his claims are premature.

Until MikeE can supply the name of some ordinary everyday NZer in jail today solely for smoking pot he has no right to demand anything of David Garret.

Stop the smoke screening. Reports 7seven years old referring to incidents even older don't cut it.

Produce the name of such an everyday person in jail today or shut the fuck up.

Redbaiter said...

BTW, for the sake of accuracy, this is what Mr. Garret actually wrote-

"if you can draw my attention to anyone who is in jail for "smoking pot" and nothing else, $100 is yours..."

I see where Lindsay Mitchell, in a feeble attempt to help out a fellow pseudo liberal, has conveniently metamorphed this into

"Mike E then referred to people imprisoned for "smoking pot" and was challenged by Mr Garrett to produce an example."

This is incorrect in that it leaves out an important qualification, namely "smoking pot and nothing else".

Lists showing numbers of people incarcerated do not show if they were incarcerated purely for the offence of smoking pot.

The obvious thrust of Mr. Garret's paragraph is that it would be very unusual for any otherwise law abiding NZer to be sentenced to time in prison for smoking pot. This is a fair comment.

How about dealing with it fairly.

Criticism of Mr. Garret for this statement is just typical Liz sanctimonious waffle anyway. Not the real issue. Just weak off the topic bullshit.

Redbaiter said...

A further BTW- I said "Lists showing numbers of people incarcerated do not show if they were incarcerated purely for the offence of smoking pot."

Furthermore, these lists refer to offences carried out ten years ago or longer, and give no recognition to the inference in Mr. Garret's claim that things are different today. They are, and it is dishonest of you to try and remove this aspect of Mr. Garret's argument from the debate.

Which you do by quoting reports that are from a bygone era. You need to address Mr. Garrets point about changing attitudes.

Play the game fair. Or is that impossible for brain damaged Liberqueerian zealots?

MikeE said...

Dude, I think you need a sesh, might help with that pent up agression.

Redbaiter said...

Dude, I think you need a sesh, might help with that pent up agression.

Left wingers like you, so totalitarian of thought you immediately portray strong and passionate disagreement as aggressive behaviour, are why I choose to distance myself from ACT.

Like National, the party needs a thorough clean out of pseudo liberals.

Lindsay said...

In 2005 and 2006 two percent of convictions for use of cannabis delivered a custodial sentence. In the previous five years the percentage had been one. In each of the ten years up to and including 2006, the most recent Justice statistics available, custodial sentences for cannabis use were imposed. Now why would the years and months since be any different?

But this is all a diversion from the original problem. That is, people who go to jail for victimless crimes, as do other inmates, should be kept safe from violent attacks by others. It is just not acceptable to publicly intimate that if violent attacks happen it is the fault or problem of the inmate simply by virtue of his being there.

Redbaiter said...

"But this is all a diversion from the original problem."

I agree entirely.

"That is, people who go to jail for victimless crimes, as do other inmates, should be kept safe from violent attacks by others."

Again, agree entirely.

"It is just not acceptable to publicly intimate"

It is actually. Voltaire remember. Not that I agree that assign blame for violent attacks to the victim is what Mr. Garret did.

You still have not as yet delivered the name of one person meeting the criteria of Mr. Garret's request. References to official figures don't cut it. Where's the one good citizen in jail oday tpurely for the one crime of smoking pot.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as victimless crime. Crime is crime. All crime imposes a cost, on the individual themselves, those associated with them, and on society as a whole. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.
Murray

Lindsay said...

Murray, Happy letting the state define crime.

James said...

Murray:"There is no such thing as victimless crime. Crime is crime. All crime imposes a cost, on the individual themselves, those associated with them, and on society as a whole. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."



Sorry Murray but there ARE victimless "crimes"....they are called vices.They are activities that may be self destroying and irrational for a living being to engage in BUT...they have no external non consenting victim/s,therefore they are not the business of the State to regulate and repress.In a free and civil society based on Classic Liberal values people have the right to be wrong...and endure the consequences of their choices.

The cost of a vice is bourne by the individual concerned....there may well be flow on effects for others but unless these others are forced (by the State) to pick up the tab for your actions then thats just unfortunate....all of us are "affected" by the actions of others around us but unless these actions are direct violations of our individual rights (life,liberty,property,pursuit of happiness) then thats just too bad....there is no right to be free from "harm"....harm definded as "negative personal consequences resulting from the non right violating actions of others".

Example....a competitor for your girlsfriends affections wins her heart and leaves you distraught.You most certainly are "harmed"...but no rights were violated.Same when a Warehouse is built in a small town with many small business's that lose custom to it...they are "harmed" certainly...but again no rights were violated...those stores never had a "right" to those customers.

An action that violates individual rights is always harmful but a harmful action need not violate individual rights...crucial difference.

As to David Garrett...met him at AGM...great guy....badly misquoted and done over by certain media types.He knows he's not coming across well and adnmits to a lack of knowledge of the finer points of Classical liberalism.

I have gifted him a copy of The Liberal Tide and other materials which he thanked me for.He is a humourous person and shoots from the lip which he realises is the cause of his getting "doneover" by agenda driven journo's.

He acknowledges he needs to refraign from off the cuff comments and its working on finding his feet in the political arena....all in all a nice bloke and an asset to ACT I think.

MikeE said...

The only reason he is getting done over is because he is making off the hip comments without thinking.

If he put some thought into these, rather than shooting off with all guns blazing, there would be no room for criticism.

I've raised this with one of the more senior press officers working for ACT yesterday at the AGM.

Hopefully they take it on board.

I know that Garrets heart is somewhere, near the right place, on some issues. That said, I still do not believe that he respresents ACT "The liberal party" well, and has the potential to be the next Donna (in a different way of course) if he keeps up with this.

And personally I'd hate to see the party led by the two conservative junior MPs rather on these issues, rather on the parties founding principles...

James said...

"The only reason he is getting done over is because he is making off the hip comments without thinking."

He's new and passionate....cut him some slack....and don't belive the bullshit from Not PC etc....he's just trying to effect a split in ACT.....not happening.

"If he put some thought into these, rather than shooting off with all guns blazing, there would be no room for criticism."

See above.I fed him some info and had a beer with him...he's a good guy and no authoritarian...he's actually very thoughtful and just in his thinking.Hes a rough diamond for sure but likable.And hes putting together a self defence bill that will have detractors saying"Nice one Dave...all is forgiven!"

"I know that Garrets heart is somewhere, near the right place, on some issues. That said, I still do not believe that he respresents ACT "The liberal party" well, and has the potential to be the next Donna (in a different way of course) if he keeps up with this."

Trouble is we ain't the 'Liberal party" no longer... we are the party with "the guts to do whats right'....and Garrett does....The next Donna?...Bullshit....maybe the next leader with the charisma he has....? ;-)

There is a touch of a boyish Rodney about him...the same drive and zing.

"And personally I'd hate to see the party led by the two conservative junior MPs rather on these issues, rather on the parties founding principles..."

Rodneys gots the joystick firmly in hand don't worry.Garretts no conservative....indeed he's rather a lad...Him and Sir Roger were shockers with some of the jokes they were telling at our table.There was a real good vibe at the AGM....best its felt for a while I think.Keys speech was a great touch and there was a real buzz between him and Rodney.

The idea to keep the party in touch...in virtual election mode already was a masterstroke and long over due I feel.If they do it right ACT will double in three years.