Thursday, June 23, 2016

Party Games 21/55 Derryn Hinch's Justice Party

Derryn Hinch's Justice Party is another new party this election. Hopefully it will be better than some other parties that have included the founders name in the party name.

As the name suggests, the founder is Derryn Hinch and the party's main aims are focused on changes to the justice system. These changes can be summarised as they want it to be tougher. Tougher sentences, tougher to get bail, tougher to get parole, and a publicly accessible register of sex offenders. They use some extremely tragic events as their reason for wanting these changes, but I get the impression that just as we have a tendency to overreact to rare acts of terrorism, here we have a case of overreaction to rare and tragic violent crimes. I suspect I've read too much Bruce Schneier not to see the parallels and immediately start looking to see what is cosmetic toughness and what might be effective, and mainly seeing the former.

They say that the justice system is too easy on criminals in general, sentences are too short, and so on. As a counterpoint to this I would offer a study by the Australian Institute of Criminology of juror that found that generally jurors overestimated crime levels and suggested sentences less severe than those imposed by the judges in the cases they were involved in, which would suggest that judges aren't more lenient than society in general. I do find merit in their calls for stricter enforcement of parole and bail conditions while the person is out on parole/bail.

I was pleasantly surprised that part of their common sense platform was support for marriage equality including prefering a parliamentry vote to a plebiscite, and support for euthanasia. These don't usually pair with the tough on crime crowd.

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