And, the desire to manage, rather than punish, the incarcerated was cited last week by the Corrections Association, the union representing prison guards, as the reason they are opposed. In essence, an argument born of cowardice. That parolling bad people makes their job easier by acting as an incentive for inmates to be nice to them, not nasty.
Prison guards will be killed, claimed president Bevan Hanlon, as a result of denying parole to the worst violent and/or sexual offenders. The logic is ludicrous and, if applied, would mean that the more dangerous the inmate, the quicker they should be released.
But then our prisons tend to resemble three-star motels. They are made onerous by the company rather than the conditions. Certainly if one is a gang member, then prison has evolved into a fraternal glee club. Which is why some prison guards have a relaxed attitude towards drugs inside. Anything, they reason, that makes their job easier.
Absolutely Mayor Michael, absolutely. The punishment needs to fit the crime, and surely, prisons are a vehicle to punish, as well as providing protection for the law-abiding amongst us.
Of course, there will be much hand-wringing from the usual suspects as the bill passes through parliament. The Kim Workmans, Greg Newbolds, Denis O'Reillys and the like will parade their sympathy. They will claim that none of this will rehabilitate these poor prisoners as functioning members of our society. And they're right: it won't.
But then we don't care. We prefer the three strikes offenders to be out of society altogether. We're not interested in their being given another chance – they blew it. And blew it. And blew it again. Welcome to the consequences. We're not talking about nice people having a bit of bad luck. We are talking about the scum of the earth. Society has an inherent right to protect itself from such. And a duty to ensure that the potential for decent folk becoming new victims is also reduced.
And you know what? He's dead right again. Our whole mentality as a nation has changed over the last 20 or so years into insulating our young from consequences. And guess what - in our ever-and-exceedingly-humble opinion, that as much as anything has contributed to the current social demise. Our young people need firm and clear boundaries, and there need to be equally firm and clear consequences when they cross those boundaries. Because young people without boundaries grow into adults who don't give a toss about anyone but themselves.
Accepting the "three strikes" approach means admitting that we have failed. It means admitting that there are some amongst us who cannot be rehabilitated, however well-intentioned those who try are. It means identifying the worst of our offenders, and if they are stupid enough to continue offending, or if they simply don't care it means locking them up for the maximum time allowed by law. Because the consequences of NOT doing that do not bear thinking about.