A discussion on crime and punishment, Retribution and Restorative Justice

Venkat Raman
Auckland, August 1, 2023

Labour MP Michael Wood accepts that retail crime has been on the rise, causing severe anguish and risks to the lives of people running dairies, convenience stores and other small owner-operated entities. Speaking to Indian Newslink during his visit to our offices on July 24, 2023, he said that every New Zealander has the right to safety and that his government is doing its utmost, including bringing young offenders (12 and 13-year-olds) under the main judicial system.

But he does not believe that tougher sentencing will solve the problem. He certainly does not subscribe to the theory of ‘locking them up and throwing the keys away’ will solve the problem.

Mr Wood wants proper evidence to prove that tougher laws have helped reduce crime.

Following the conversation and publication of a report which is the lead story in our Digital Edition dated August 1, 2023, we read about the laws in other countries, notably Australia, Canada and the United States of America, where Restorative Justice appears to be gaining ground.

Our Second Leader under Viewlink of this issue highlights this aspect. It also quotes Nicholas Turner, President and Director of the Vera Institute of Justice, a New York-based organisation as saying that long prison sentences have devastating effects on the families of perpetrators as well.

The Organisation is working to reform the American system of sentencing and immigration in the USA, where two million people are in prison for various crimes.

We believe that community and business leaders should get together to initiate a national debate on the issue and help the government to formulate policies and programmes.

One Reader told us that Crime has become ‘business’ in New Zealand and that perpetrators are comparatively better off and that they indulge in criminal activities because the law of the land is lenient. “Our Courts have become a circus now. We should have laws like in Singapore if not Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he said.

Do you agree? Please write to us: venkat@indiannewslink.nz

Mental Health Challenges

We have also addressed the mental health challenges that people increasingly confront in today’s society. While it is unfortunate that as Justice Minister, Kiri Allan not only drove a vehicle in an inebriated state but also resisted arrest, the reason for her behaviour was that she was coping with stress in her personal life. Soon thereafter (on July 24, 2023), she resigned from all her Ministerial portfolios and a day later decided not to seek re-election this year.

As mentioned in our Leader, our health system is far too inefficient to effectively address mental issue challenges. Increased investment is required to improve mental health awareness and reduce stigma. There is also a need to improve access to quality mental health care and effective treatments and for research to identify new treatments and improve existing treatments for all mental disorders.

Politicians are more conversant with human irrationality than most. Allowing the mentally ill to languish does not bode well for a Nation; neither does a swipe at people just because they embrace an ideology.

The approach to mental health should transcend politics.

It is after all a human problem.

Our August 1, 2023 issue carries news and features relating to Current Affairs, Politics, General Election, Education, Business, Opinion, Community, Entertainment and Sports.

Please read and share with your family, friends, associates and colleagues.

Click here to read our August 1, 2023 Digital Edition

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