Sunday, 4 January 2015

We Were A Penal Colony - Doesn't Mean We Have To Tolerate Crims

After reading the well written article from former New South Wales Police Detective Tim Priest, who worked the drug ridden, predominantly Asian, suburb of Cabramatta in Sydney - The Rise Of Middle Eastern Crime In Australia. In simple terms, it is a thought provoking and interesting reading from one of those working knee deep in the shit of the front-line.

This also come on the heels of the Martin Place siege, where a lone individual held 17 people hostage for the best part of a day, in which two people perished and the gunman got put down like the rabid dog he was known to be.

Australia has seen ever increasing levels of violence and crime perpetrated by either individuals, organised crime outfits, gangs and or those of non-Australian birth claiming citizenship, refugee or politically oppressed status. At the forefront of those committing the crimes, that concern us as a nation, are people of either Middle Eastern, Asian or Pacific Islander direct descent or heritage i.e. second generation and are over-powering law abiding citizens with shear numbers and the brutality of their attacks. To put it simply - people are scared or are living in fear - which includes law enforcement.

The rise of such crimes and the groups perpetrating such crimes has increased exponentially with the advent of such terms "robust multi-culturalism", "targeted immigration" and "skilled migration".

As the referenced article and most of the silent majority of Australian are fully aware in this "Politically Correct" new world we are struggling with, we are more worried about being branded 'racist' than meeting the challenges head on and nipping it in the bud when we can.

I for one do not want a Orwellian "Police State", nor do I like the "Nanny Country" we've become - but that is a different matter for discussion at another time, but give the authorities the tools to do their job, but more importantly, let them do their job without political or do-gooder interference.

What I propose is not the enacting of more laws (or stiffer sentencing, as that has little or no deterrent effect) that those trying to apply said laws have neither the means, resources, or time to enforce - rather lets use the laws we have now and heed a few lessons learnt by other nations like us who subscribe to the rule of law and established democracy. 

My proposal is one based on my experience living in the US and includes the use of exisiting Immigration laws of both Australia and the US. Yes, I know some people are firmly on the "bag the shit out of the USA" band wagon, but I have lived there and I feel that experience is the best teacher.

With relevance to this particualr discussion, during my 13 years in the US, I kept one distinct piece of Immigration information in the back of my head, but first let me give you a bit of background - 

One of the last things you want to do if you are in the United States on a visa or green card is commit a felony. Immigration officials may deport you or downgrade your status on the basis of a felony or even a non-felony conviction, depending on your current status, the type of offense, and the specific facts surrounding your case.
Moreover, convictions for crimes involving "moral turpitude" or those labeled "aggravated felonies" carry harsh consequences for non-citizens. A non-citizen who commits an aggravated felony or a crime involving moral turpitude is generally ineligible for relief from deportation and often will be barred from reentering the U.S. in the future.

Aggravated Felony

For immigration purposes, the term aggravated felony includes some offenses that are considered misdemeanors in state or federal courts, or in some cases conduct that is not even criminalized. In other words, it is a category unique to immigration law encompassing a wide variety of acts considered removable offenses by Congress.
Initially enacted in 1988, aggravated felony was limited to serious crimes such as murder, federal drug trafficking, and the illicit trafficking of firearms and incendiary devices. Since then, Congress had added a number of offenses to the list, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • murder
  • rape
  • sexual abuse of a minor (which can include statutory rape)
  • drug trafficking, manufacture or supply
  • trafficking in firearms or destructive devices
  • various other offenses concerning firearms or explosive materials
  • racketeering
  • money laundering of more than $10,000
  • fraud or tax evasion involving more than $10,000
  • theft or violent crime with a sentence order of at least one year
  • perjury with a sentence of at least one year
  • kidnapping
  • child pornography
  • trafficking in persons or running a prostitution business
  • spying, treason, or sabotage
  • commercial bribery, counterfeiting, forgery, or trafficking in vehicles
  • failure to appear in court on a felony charge for which a sentence of two years in prison may be imposed
  • alien smuggling, and
  • obstruction of justice, perjury, or bribery of a witness, if the term of imprisonment was at least one year.
  • Even if an offense was added to the list of aggravated felonies after a foreign national has been convicted, the individual immediately becomes deportable (unless Congress specifically states otherwise).
    Primarily the rule of thumb was that if convicted of a crime punishable by a prison sentence of over 12 months in State or Federal corrections facility, then that is also considered an "Aggravated Felony". Bear in mind, you can only be sentenced to a County jail for a term not exceeding 1 year in most jurisdictions.

    One of the easiest ways to be convicted of a "Aggravated Felony" is to drink drive - in a lot of jurisdictions, being twice the legal limit or refusing to provide a breath specimen is an automatic charge of Aggravated Felony DUI" - but I digress, back to my point.

    Australian Citizen ship or Visa entry has some similar expectations as those of the US in that we have the Australian Values Statement- which states the following:

     I understand:
    • Australian society values respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, freedom of religion, commitment to the rule of law, Parliamentary democracy, equality of men and women and a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play and compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good
    • Australian society values equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background
    • the English language, as the national language, is an important unifying element of Australian society.
    I undertake to respect these values of Australian society during my stay in Australia and to obey the laws of Australia.

    I understand that, if I should seek to become an Australian citizen:
    • Australian citizenship is a shared identity, a common bond which unites all Australians while respecting their diversity
    • Australian citizenship involves reciprocal rights and responsibilities. The responsibilities of Australian Citizenship include obeying Australian laws, including those relating to voting at elections and serving on a jury.
    If I meet the legal qualifications for becoming an Australian citizen and my application is approved I understand that I would have to pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people.

    Now for me, the last bullet point that mentions "The responsibilities of Australian Citizenship include obeying Australian laws" is the one that our political, judicial and citizens should take notice of.

    If said citizen or aspiring citizen choose not (a) follow the rules and (b) get convicted of any crime punishable by a sentence exceeding 12 months in prison, then you have just earned yourself "a window seat", to use mining industry parlance - you're out of here, onya bike, thanks for shopping, game over. 

    As part of that, I would also like to see Australia stand up to those parties who have signed Extradition Treaties with our country and say unequivocally to them that after 12 months of Australian incarceration of your citizen, we reserve the right to ship them back for you to house in your correctional facilities, for the remainder of their prison sentence - rather than them being a burden on our taxation system. Similarly, we will seize and/or sell the convicted party's assets in order to pay for their Australian incarceration and deportation expenses incurred.

    As with any democratic nation, there will be an appeals process. But as said citizen or aspiring citizen's conviction shows that you may not be a "Fit & Proper Person" for Australian residence, you will have to apply from your original country of residence or where you are deported to, lest you be a burden on the Australian tax payer and it's generosity.

    In closing, the deterrent here is not the potential incarceration, as most of the shit heads don't give a fig about the law and openly flaunt the fact. More over it is the the very real possibility that we as a nation, will not put up with your shit and send you back to whence you came. You've told us that that is obviously more difficult place for you to live and by judging that you moved here ... then we wish you well in your return.

    As with all my posts, they are for public comment and in no way are to be used or to be seen as racist, sexist or inciting illegal activities.



    Monday, 7 October 2013

    IF IT FITZ: Juvenile Justice - What About The Alternatives

    I've decided that my Blog efforts are going to be under the umbrella of IF IT FITZ:

    As outlined earlier, my IF IT FITZ blog is simply a social commentary on subjects that either effect us all in our daily lives, or in which I have a thought or belief in.

    IF IT FITZ is in no way meant to be a conduit of any form of racism, sexism or discrimination and as such, will not be tolerated in any way, shape or form.

    Feel free to comment/discuss/dissect the blog subjects, after all, as an open forum, your opinion and thoughts are welcomed and encouraged ;-)

    My first topic for discussion is a rather hot topic at the moment - how to deal with juvenile offenders and their continued offending in regards to petty and/or property crime and serial offending.

    Here in Australia, you can not name any offender who has committed a crime as a juvenile. In most Australian states and territory's, the gloves come off at either age 17 or 18 but until then the convicted juveniles records are sealed unless they apply for certain employment opportunities, in which case all their previous illegal activities are an open book.

    As with most western and dare I say it - civilized societies, all criminal activities contain three seemingly separate elements, that on their own do not seem to be related, but taken collectively, need to be addressed in order to resolve the subject in question.

    Those three elements are (a) the Justice system, (b) the environment and (c) the individual.

    ELEMENT A: Justice
    Justice can be many things to many different people. It is a fine line between the application of law and utilizing common sense, without a decisions being clouded by loss, anger or grief. Like myself, most people are fed up with the courts perceived "revolving door" treatment of habitual and continuous offenders. I'm especially fed up with offenders being on bail/probation/parole who subsequently re-offend and are convicted, but are not having to complete the original head sentence.

    The justice system is littered with elements that seem to feed of each other. The Police who bring the offenders to court, then there are the do-gooders who think the offender is a "misunderstood soul in need of some space, time and support" while the lawyers and judges have come from a some what sheltered background of secondary and University education.

    Funnily enough, here in Townsville, a judge who had a reputation for being soft on juvenile crime, seemingly changed his stance overnight on the sentencing of offenders. Not sure if it had anything to do with his two cars being stolen from his house, when the offenders broke into his house and took the keys while he was in bed and sleeping with his wife.

    ELEMENT B: Environment
    Most of the reported repeat juvenile offenders seem to come from a "non-structured" home environment. One can only surmise that the elements of a stable home are not either in place or functioning. This is whole different subject matter as I know of several generations of "welfare families" who have no intent, reason or drive to be contributing positively to society, other then exhausting all avenues of government funds and services to benefit themselves.

    Yes, I know some kids from seemingly good homes, go off the rails, but that comes down to the third element, but at the end of the day, the kid can simply be a "shit".

    ELEMENT C: The Individual
    This is possibly the hardest element as you are dealing with a human being that includes all the elements of who we are - passion, possessions, parenting, conscience, education, feelings, aspirations, wants & needs.

    Personally, I believe that all people that I meet are inherently good people, until their actions calls into question that belief.

    So, after outlining the problems, what are some of the solutions. I am not even going to bother broaching the subject of discussing what elements or options that may or not be available as it appears they are not adequate or enough of a deterrent.

    What I would suggest is a simple "Three Strikes" rules for juveniles and that is based on a teenagers psyche and thought process.

    That process is one of cause and effect - which every person on this planet clearly understands.

    First Strike:
    The juvenile offender fronts a judicial mediation in which they are to face the victim(s) in the presence both parents/guardians/carers. This measure is to ensure that the crime is not simply treated as "faceless" by the convicted juvenile. Depending on the crime, the court retains jurisdiction in assessing whether a good behavior bond, suspended sentence or incarceration is warranted.

    Strike Two:
    The juvenile offender is sent to a mediation meeting as outlined in First Strike then the matter is forwarded to Correctional Services for assessment in being admitted to a managed community work crew, a "chain gang" if you will. They will be dressed in pink overalls, gloves and protective eye-wear and walk the roads and highways picking up rubbish or supplying manual labour for community based projects such as urban beautification/renewal, park maintenance or upkeep, painting/graffiti removal etc etc etc

    Operational hours are from 7:30AM to 4:30PM on weekends or any weekday that they offender is not actively participating in education or employment.

    The offender and their parents/guardians/carers need to have the convicted offender on time, on site and on the ball or they will suffer the same fate, all be it on a different work crew.

    All participants are subject to drug and alcohol testing, including the parents/guardians/carers

    Strike Three:
    If either the convicted offender or their parent/carer are under the influence of any illicit or illegal substance then they are charged with the offence, sit the "work crew" time in a holding cell for the rest of the directed sentence and then front the courts to be sentenced for the new offences.

    There are numerous benefits to a proposal such as mine:

    •  Ask any teenager, they hate to be embarrassed. There's a fair chance that being seen in pink chain gang on the side of a busy road would reduce the under lying "I'm a hero" attitude most of the convicted teenagers have
    • If the convicted parties have walked 20 to 30 kilometers in a day, then they are less likely to want to go out that night and offend with their mates due to being tired or worn out.
    • Lunch is a sandwich and fruit prepared by prison industries. A $5.00 per day fee is to be paid to cover the costs. This is to be collected via electronic transfer and is levied on either the juveniles welfare payments or their respective parents/guardians/carers
    • Costs are considerable reduced as there are no correctional facilities to be built/staffed/maintained. Costs would be simply a couple of Correctional Officers, a mini-bus with a large drinking water vessel and a portable toilet on a trailer.
    • The community benefits from not having to pay for projects that are often low priority or fiscally unviable.
    Do I care about the convicted juveniles "shame job" factor or their "remorse" that is solely related to that fact that they got caught and not that they were active participants in the the criminal activity. No, I do not.

    Where is the victim in all this? Where is the assistance for people who do not feel safe in their own homes or who have their vehicles stolen and destroyed, but can't replace it due to having no insurance, as they are struggling financially themselves?

    What do you think?

    Sunday, 29 September 2013

    The Weekly Blog - The Torch Has Been Lit

                   I've decided to throw together a Blog that reflects me as a person, in that I have views and opinions based on several factors, including my education, travel, life & employment experiences and beliefs which include me being non-denominational, abhorring racism, sexism and narrow mindedness.

       For me, this Blog will be an open forum for people to speak their minds in tackling subject matter that we are either exposed to, or experience on an every day basis.

      From the outset, I need to establish that this Blog should be treated pretty much as mates having a chinwag around the dinner table, the campfire or at the local - blowing the froth off a couple of coldies.

       I will in no way tolerate personal attacks on individuals or groups and will enforce a strict "No Dickhead" rule. By all means, I want everyone to be able to speak their minds with no fear, nor favour, but common decency dictates that my Blog is not a means to spew forth vitriol, hated, offensive or hurtful posts.

      I'm going to give it a week or so to allow people to join the Blog and then go with the first topic which will be measures in addressing juvenile or petty crime.