I think that's true about ATR but I don't agree that the imbalance with combat ships is the whole issue. Even in the new starter areas I expect that seal clubbers will do their stupidity successfully in stock Sidewinders. An experienced player will always be "imbalanced" against someone who is still learning the controls.Crime and punishment isn't the problem, ATR didn't change anything in terms of ganking - and indeed it wasn't even really intended to, it was a BGS balancing tool to stop cop massacre. As the game balance currently stands unless you go full Minority Report and make punishment pre-emptive there will always be seal clubbing. You're trying to fix the wrong part of the game, the issue is the massive irretrievable power differential between casually fit ship and minmaxed ships, and the practical impossibility of balancing TTK for all players in a system where combat ships can have 2000% + more health and 100% + more damage output than a new, unmodded casual build.
The only way of stopping this is really ferocious C&P. A god-mode laser blast reaching across a system from the nearest station causing instant destruction as soon as notoriety is gained, or something similar.
I think that's the only thing that will work; I'm not quite sure that it's desirable.