22 Apr 2014

Burglary added to three strikes list

5:41 pm on 22 April 2014

The ACT party has released details of its plan to extend its three strikes and you're out policy to include burglary.

Jamie Whyte.

Jamie Whyte. Photo: RNZ

The policy was announced at its conference in March. At present, the three strikes law applies to 40 serious violent offences for which offenders convicted for a third time automatically receive the maximum sentence with parole only in exceptional circumstances.

ACT leader Jamie Whyte said on Monday that the courts and police give burglary a low profile and there needs to be a greater deterrent.

Under the policy, when an offender is convicted for a third or subsequent burglary (or three or more burglaries sentenced at the same time), they would be sentenced to a minimum of three years' jail without parole.

"Burglary is a calculated crime," Mr Whyte says. "Burglaries happen when burglars figure the rewards outweigh the risk of detection or likely punishment. Three strikes for burglary will change that calculation."

Mr Whyte says young offenders would be exempt from the law, but any burglary offences committed while they are under 18 would count once they turn 18.

The policy will allow rare exceptions where imposing the mandatory sentence would be manifestly unjust, given circumstances of the offence or the offender, he says.

If the policy has a deterrent effect, he expects that the prison population may ultimately decrease.