Holy fucking shit. This is the first of my absolutely fucking furious blog posts – and it won’t be the last.
Jason Morris Meads was released from prison 11 years into a life sentence for his part in the unbelievable vicious beating and murder of a 14 year old gay kid in Wellington, New Zealand. The reason for his release? He is unlikely to be rehabilitated behind bars. So, he won’t change, so let’s release him. Great fucking idea.
I have been a vocal opponent of the automatic “send ’em to jail and throw away the key” mentality we see so often in this country. People seem to think that the best way to deal with aberrant behaviour is to lock people up where they are immersed in criminal mentality. But someone who has a track record of such horrendous behaviour, someone who continues to commit crimes while behind bars, in particular while serving a life sentence, clearly has written themselves off.
I still think it is important to understand how these people come to be. What does society do to produce such people? Because, after all, they are not born like that. They might be born with a pre-disposition to violence, but they are not actually born violent. We make them so. Or at the very least, we do nothing to help them overcome their pre-dispositions.
Like the Greens, I believe strongly in restorative justice – to allow offenders to come to the realisation that their offending harms themselves as well as other people. That they need to be part of society not its enemy. But sometimes, just sometimes, there is no way through. Sometimes people really are a lost cause. And these people need special treatment. Either they need preventative detention (ie. they never get out again) or they need extremely intensive care and monitoring.
Meads attacked this kid because he looked different. He was funny-looking with his coloured hair and his piercings. Because he thought he was gay (so what if he was or not). So who next? Who else will look funny to him?
Meads was 25 when he murdered this boy. This boy who was 11 years younger than him. Now, 11 years on, at 36, how much more mature can we expect him to be?
Maybe he will have a chance of rehabilitation in the community, but we the public ought to have more assurance that the level of monitoring will be such that his high risk of re-offending will be completely mitigated. I just hope like hell future history will show that the Parole Board were justified in their actions.