Government Announces Bill to Repeal Three Strikes Law
On the 11 November 2021, the Government announced that it intends to repeal the mandatory sentencing regime put in place by the Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2010, more commonly known as the Three Strikes Law.
The Three Strikes Law was intended to deter repeat offenders with the threat of progressively longer mandatory prison terms, and to penalise those who continued to re-offend. The law required courts to impose the maximum applicable penalty without parole on offenders who had committed any relevant offence three times.
The Government has raised concerns regarding the Three Strikes Law. The law requires judges to hand out prescribed sentences without consideration of the seriousness of the offending and any other relevant circumstances surrounding the offence. Further, the law presents a number of issues under the due process provisions in the Bill of Rights Act 1990. Overall, the Government believes the Three Strikes Law has not achieved the purposes it set out to achieve, including improving public safety. Repeat offending rates have not decreased as was the aim.
As a result, Cabinet has introduced the Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill.
The Bill will see people who are already sentenced under the Three Strikes Law to serve their sentence as originally imposed. Noting however, that Cabinet has agreed to invite the Justice Select Committee to consider whether the Bill should include provisions for those who have already been sentenced under the Three Strikes Law.
The Bill has passed its First Reading in Parliament and been referred to the Justice Select Committee. While it is expected to be passed into law based on the government majority its introduction has sparked debate across the political spectrum.
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