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Māori prison?

Written By: - Date published: 10:26 am, May 9th, 2017 - 68 comments
Categories: Maori Issues, prisons - Tags: , ,

Interesting proposal from Labour:

Labour proposes Māori prison to fix rising numbers

Labour has come up with a radical solution to the high number of Māori in jail – it wants a separate Māori prison.

It wants to convert an existing prison into one run entirely on Māori values.

“A prison based on Māori values, not exclusively for Māori but for anybody, but they’ll know that the values that the prison will be run under will be based along Māori lines,” Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis told Newshub.

It’s a major turnaround by Labour which just seven years ago, said it was against Māori prisons.

The proposed Māori-only prison is a really big call from a major party like Labour – there will be plenty of critics who call it race-based justice.

It’s a big call in order to deal with a big problem.

68 comments on “Māori prison?”

  1. Bill 1

    Why don’t Maori have their own judicial system? I mean, this is meant to be a country formed on the basis of partnership and examples already exist where two legal systems co-exist (The UK).

    • weka 1.1

      Personally, I’d prefer that the mainstream system was handed over to be run by Māori. It’s not like the Pākehā version is doing a very good job.

    • Enough is Enough 1.2

      Who would decide what jurisdiction a person came under?

      Would a Maori offender have an option?

      How would Maori be defined?

      Would a non-Maori victim have any say in which legal system the Maori offender was brought to justice?

      I can see why a Maori prison would be beneficial, but a separate judicial system would be a nightmare and a prosperous industry for lawyers

      • Bill 1.2.1

        Who would decide what jurisdiction a person came under?

        Which jurisdiction would be seeking the prosecution?

        Would a Maori offender have an option?

        Which jurisdiction is seeking the prosecution?

        Would a non-Maori victim have any say in which legal system the Maori offender was brought to justice?

        Which jurisdiction is seeking the prosecution?

        edit – and if both, which one proceeded, filed or whatever first?

        • Enough is Enough 1.2.1.1

          So if an offender is prosecuted under the Non-Maori system, before the Maori System prosecutes, then that offender will tried under the Non-Maori system?

          And therfore would the ethnicity of the offender be irrelevant?

          • Bill 1.2.1.1.1

            Sure. Everyone equal before the law and all of that. So Pakeha can get done under Maori Law and Maori under Pakeha Law…just in the same way as an English person in the UK can be done under Scottish Law and a Scottish person under English Law.

            The lack of clear geographical delineation here could lead to interesting conundrums, but hey… 😉

            • tinfoilhat 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Is there a codified Maori legal system that would be appropriate to use Bill ?

    • mordecai 1.3

      “Why don’t Maori have their own judicial system?”
      Because they don’t need one. The current system works fine.
      As for a Maori run jail, I don’t care who runs the jails, just so long as they do a good job. Maori could contract to Government to run a jail, just as they do Partnership Schools.

  2. What a load of shit. A prison based on Māori values – that makes me sick. Come here, take everything, put people in prison, blame them. And now this? Duck you labour and your racist scum sucking mates – what a disgraceful bunch of arseholes imo

    • Tamati Tautuhi 2.1

      MM wake up mate and smell the flowers, ever been inside ?

    • weka 2.2

      I agree with your summation of how Māori end up in prison marty, but am curious why you think a kaupapa Māori prison would make that worse. Are there not clear connections between what happens in prison and the fate of those people during and after they are there?

      • marty mars 2.2.1

        It is conceeding the problem not looking at solutions as to WHY so many Māori are imprisoned. We need to stop the racism and deprivation that sends Māori to prison not make prison more kaupapa Māori.

        • weka 2.2.1.1

          yes, that makes sense. I really hope that Māori do better under L/G, and I think that govt would make things better but that you and I would still be disappointed. Best I can see is that we get some breathing space so those conversations about the underlying issues can happen.

        • bwaghorn 2.2.1.2

          Little on tv1 pointed out all the ways the system is failing maori a maori prison was just one string to his thinking ,
          my main issue with labour goin g there is it’s 2% more to winston

          • michelle 2.2.1.2.1

            I agree with bwaghorn I would do what the gnats do any controversial policy introduce it when they get elected for example charter schools and selling HNZ houses was not tabled at the last election and other polices the gnats have since rammed through. But its a good idea to put ideas possible policy out there in the public arena and wait and see what type of reaction you get.
            Another ploy of the gnats was to ram through policy when we were grieving for example the pike river miners. I think this is very devious and very nasty striking while people are preoccupied and vulnerable.

    • michelle 2.3

      Prisons come from our Anglo Saxon whanau so how can they be kaupapa Maori when many of us don’t believe in the prison systems fullstop it doesn’t belong to us but its full with our people.
      However something needs to change in our country. There are prisoners sitting in prison simply because they can’t find anywhere to live now is this right and how much is it costing us ? something needs to change drastically or we will see a revolt like the peasants and serfs did so will Maori.

    • One Two 2.4

      Well said, Marty

      As is your comment 2.2.1

      Spot on!

    • adam 2.5

      The voice of sanity, thanks marty mars.

      We know the police are racially profiling.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11616977

      We know the courts will send young Māori to jail more often than there Pākehā counter part.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11629050

      http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/84346494/new-zealands-racist-justice-system–our-law-is-not-colourblind

      This is not a solution, actually, it’s just ideological claptrap .

      And the media calling this radical, what a sad joke. They have no idea what radical is.

    • Wainwright 2.6

      It’s a bit of a cultural-compentency ambulance at the bottom of the colonial hill, isn’t it? If we want really bold ideas to address incarceration in NZ let’s start with No Pride in Prisons manifesto:
      http://noprideinprisons.org.nz/post/150231157038/editors-introduction
      (I like the pricing schedule for the book: unwaged, waged, up to Very High Waged)

    • michelle 2.7

      I actually agree with you Marty mars its a load of shit

  3. Tamati Tautuhi 3

    Mainstream prisons are purely the equivalent of Crime Universities where you learn new skills and build up your future networks for when you are released, we need to shift the paradigm, because what we are doing ain’t working ?

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again trying to get a different result”.

    • Bollocks – up there with the fiordland moose in urban legend stakes.

      Put your evidence of these crime universities up. Let’s see it, or don’t bother because it doesn’t actually exist.

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        marty mars
        I don’t know where you are coming from with this. The recidivism alone is an example of the prisons not ‘correcting’ or teaching anything good to the inmates. Is Tamati Tautuhi not a credible commenter to you, as he/she is being given the thumbs down so strongly.

  4. Wonderpup 4

    I hope this doesn’t man that all the other prisons don’t get the limited amount of tikanga and Te Reo input they have now, because “that’s for the Māori prison…”. It works for Pākehā too,

    I’m also interested in this current theme from the right at the moment that anything related to race is tagged as racist or xenophobic in order to shut the conversation down. Its a nasty, cynical ploy, pretending to actually care when it is just rhetorical.

  5. Tamati Tautuhi 5

    The Natzis like the US Prison Business Model which SERCO are running for us here in NZ this entails prisoner targets which have to be met and prisoner numbers to keep the funding up and the returns to shareholders ?

    • Wonderpup 5.1

      I have no evidence to back this up, but that’s never stopped me before. The US private prison system is backed up by an explicitly corrupt environment. Kickbacks for individuals, slave labour for business, contributions for political organisations. That’s all a matter of record.

      What I don’t have evidence for is NZ is in an implicitly corrupt environment for private prisons. The models are much harder to build, as we don’t have co-opted prison labour, and I’m not suggesting politicians take overt bribes. I don’t think they do in NZ, or at least, not often. The corruption is one of business, mates, contacts and contracts – things that Just Happen (especially in local government).

      So I don;t think its fair to point at the US environment and nix private prisons here for that. I think we should get rid of any private funding from our prison system because it has resulted in poor service in keeping prisoners safe, leads to poor social outcomes and is really just wholly 18th century thinking. Just Wrong.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    Swapping SERCO for iwi corporations would not be a win – a win is less folk imprisoned and more in decent jobs. If it’s just the state offloading responsibility to the private sector it is unlikely to help.

    I don’t like the idea myself – what the Gnats lied about, reducing recidivism, is a better plan. That would require a much healthier job market however – NZ has massive and chronic underemployment as well as unemployment. Keeping straight in decent work is realistic, doing so without it is pushing Sisyphus’s boulder uphill.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 6.1

      Yep 94,000 youth aged 15-24 unemployed and not involved in any formal training, I wonder what they are doing with their spare time ?

      • Tamati Tautuhi 6.1.1

        Dare I say it Dairies and Bottle Shops ?

      • michelle 6.1.2

        Tamati T the gnats govt know about our NEETS and have also known for many years that we have an ageing pakeha population. The gnats have also known that Maori and PI would make up the bulk of NZ working age population being a much younger demographic group. Yet instead of investing in these groups they have purposely brought in thousand of foreigners to help drive down labour costs.
        Any Maori and PI people that vote for this lot need their head read because they have kicked us in the guts for 9 years now and we need to do the same when it comes to the election by kicking these mongrels to the curb where they belong.

      • greywarshark 6.1.3

        Tamati Tautuhi
        What must be mentioned about the prisons is that there are mental health problems there, there are illiterates there – undereducated in the basics, there are people who have no understanding of any positive culture there, culture in a stable, friendly home for instance, culture of a stable, friendly society or country for another instance.

        If there are to be prisons they should keep those people busy working to their own goals, with rewards of their own choosing, and ensuring a sense of worth and decency. They should have their own cells and politicians be double bunked wherever they are staying.

        Both are tied into a social system not performing well for the country. and both sets of individuals are not getting the chance to show their talents for positive outcomes.

    • mordecai 6.2

      “NZ has massive and chronic underemployment…”
      No, we don’t.
      “At 12.8 per cent, New Zealand’s underutilisation rate is lower than OECD average of 14.1 percent. Australia’s was 21.8 per cent.” http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/89021198/True-scale-of-unemployment-shown-by-under-employment-rate-of-12-8-per-cent

      “…as well as unemployment. ”
      NZ’s unemployment rate is also low by OECD standards.

      Next?

      • greywarshark 6.2.1

        mordecai what a guy
        The figures for unemployment are always open to be gamed. It is possible that all the OECD conform to the same skewed measurement and appellation of unemployment.

        So don’t be a trusting, rote-learning, slogan-repeating junior who hasn’t gone beyond Stats (Employment) 101.

        It is possible that all the OECD conform to the same skewed measurement and appellation of unemployment. Much of under-employment should be counted as part of the unemployment figure with ‘unemployment’ divided into say strata, first absolute – at time of measurement, second recurring – over past quarter, and third virtual – so that working 7 hours or under is not counted as economically
        significant to the macroeconomic stats.

        • mordecai 6.2.1.1

          I’ve quoted internationally recognised statistics. You’re looking for ways to spin good news as bad. It really is as simple as that.

  7. Tarquin 7

    Another distraction for no gain. Does Little even want to win in September?

  8. michelle 8

    Prisons have become a business and is this what we want in our country I don’t think so. We need to stop this rotten system. A business is interested in profits that is why they exist. The more people we imprison the harder it is for us to fix the problems and there is multiple problems when they get out and this is what people forget. And these ( problems) cost lots of money, time and need the right people to fix them.
    Our current government have been busy getting rid of any social responsibility for our people ( NZers) by subcontracting out to private companies that way when anything goes wrong they say it wasn’t us. This approach and attitude by the gnats shows they don’t care about many NZers as a high prison population effects us all as I said some of them eventually have to be released into our communities.

  9. “A prison based on Māori values, not exclusively for Māori but for anybody…”

    and

    “The proposed Māori-only prison is a really big call…” (italics mine)

    seem at odds.

  10. BM 10

    This is such a vote loser.

    Really dumb politics.

  11. Jenny Kirk 11

    So what could a proposal for such a prison mean ?

    Maybe it could mean that there is more welcoming, explaining, discussion when a new inmate arrives. Maybe it could mean there is enquiry into what the inmate knows (ie literacy skills, technical skills). Maybe it could mean teaming up a new inmate with someone not connected to the Gangs in prison (if there is such a person). Maybe it could have the inmates learning a whole lot of new skills in a congenial atmosphere.
    Maybe it could also mean that Corrections come up with realistic ways in which people can change their behaviours, and their future lifestyles.
    And maybe it would just start people outside the prison system thinking and talking about HOW it could be different and more realistic methods for dealing with inmates could be developed.
    Maybe …………
    Its just a discussion at the moment – not a specific policy – so maybe a lot of good ideas could come from such a public discussion instead of immediately dissing it.

    • Tarquin 11.1

      I can see why Kelvin brought it up, he has a battle to win and Maori politics is the name of the game in his seat. I wish him the best of luck. Little should have quietly distanced himself and let Kelvin get on with it. It is not a vote winner in general seats.

      • Jenny Kirk 11.1.1

        so its okay, Tarquin, for a disproportionate number of Maori to be in prison and just left there – no rehabilitation, no interaction with a cultural background they can identify with, nothing but more crime in their future ?

        • Tarquin 11.1.1.1

          Not what I was getting at. Kelvin is taking on Hone the best way he can. As far as the rest of N.Z is concerned do the crime do the time regardless of creed, colour or culture – this is not a vote winner. I don’t know much about the prison system, but I do know avoiding it is a choice.

          • michelle 11.1.1.1.1

            Tarquin you have no idea what it is like to be born and raised in a country where authority treats you differently do you and what if you don’t do the crime how many more Teina Poras are sitting in our prisons rotting

        • Tamati Tautuhi 11.1.1.2

          The problem with some Maori prisoners is they are disconnected from their tribal roots and whanau, some do not know much about their hapu, iwi or whakapapa, it is a good start in life knowing where you have come from and something about your tipuna/ancestors.

          With the Maori migrations to the cities and towns in the 1940-1960’s some Maori families became disconnected with their family maraes and whanau, some migrating towards the gangs and the associated criminal activity.

          • Tarquin 11.1.1.2.1

            No easy answer is there Tamati. I like Kelvin and I think he speaks a lot of sense at times. I like what you wrote above, it’s foreign to how I think but you seem to be coming up with some plan for the future. I don’t know what you do for a living, but I know you should be in a position of leadership where you can do some real good. My greatest fear is that Hone will get back in and take the north on the great leap backwards again. No northlander needs that.

          • left_forward 11.1.1.2.2

            Tena koe Tamati – e tautoko ana ahau ki a koe

  12. Policy Parrot 12

    From what I understand, there is no suggestion of a different legal system, but a prison run on kaupapa Maori values. What is so wrong with that? Especially if prison is supposed to be 80% rehabiliation, 10% punishment/deterrent, and 10% public safety.

    Also, if they combined it with John Nash’s Game Theory in terms of positive actions leading to positive consequences, i.e. the system needs to be set up so that those who attempt to interact positively with it at any stage are rewarded for this, and knowledge that future positive interactions on the part of the inmate will lead to positive outcomes from Corrections, and vice-versa.

    One potential outcome is that those who were keen on complying on an 99% basis would gain access to supervised normal-wage employment on the outside which when continued on release, would allow for better reintegration into communities.

    • Rae 12.1

      No harm in trying, I would have thought, amazed at how many seem to think it is going to be skin off their noses to do it.

  13. Rae 13

    Apparently 50% of the prison population is Maori, which means everyone else in there is in an ethic minority. I would have thought that would suggest that all prisons should be run under kaupapa Maori, and that it is racist not to.
    God, I am sick to death of racists using phrases like PC gone mad etc to cover up their racism.

  14. Cinny 14

    I think it is a fantastic idea and fully support it.

    To any who say it is racist…. well the white system isn’t working that well, why not try something different?

    I think some would be surprised at how many non maori would prefer to be rehabilitated by kaupapa Maori over Serco. I was of the understanding it would be made available to all prisoners and not just Maori, fantastic.

    Obviously it wouldn’t be a holiday camp it’s prison ffs, it would just be a different method of rehabilitation.

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    The goal should be to get rid of prisons. It won’t happen overnight of course but it should be a longish term goal.

    Punishment doesn’t work whereas rehabilitation does.

  16. Bill 16

    The bottom line is that if prisons are such bad environments for people to be in, why don’t we just open the doors?

    Maybe that’s not the bottom line.

    If our society fosters environments that twist and distort people in such a way that they visit ‘bad shit’ back on society, then why don’t we change society?

    Yup. thinking that’s a better bottom line.

    And we can judge how appropriate the changes we make are, by looking at the resultant prevalence of any apparent societal need to lock people up.

  17. Planet Earth 17

    Apart from learning your whakapapa and tikanga and te reo (which have got to be good things), can anyone enlighten me as to how “Maori values” differ from the values of the existing system?

  18. Tamati Tautuhi 18

    Might play to have a look at what is happening in the Netherlands, maybe we could learn something ?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/12201375/Netherlands-doesnt-have-enough-criminals-to-fill-its-prisons-as-crime-to-drop.html

  19. Tanz 19

    Prison is a choice though, play by the rules, stay prison free. Personal responsibility…a concept the left usually leave out.

    • Wainwright 19.1

      Funny it’s a choice more brown people make than white people, even when white people ‘choose’ to commit the exact same crimes.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.2

      Clinging desperately to zombie bullshit just makes you look ignorant and easily led.

      Plus what Wonderpup said.

    • michelle 19.3

      Tanz have you seen the recent case where William Yan admitted to money laudering of millions and got only 5 months and he gets to stay in a luxury apartment to serve his 5 month sentence. Now do you think this is fair or right and what sort of precedent has this set . It smells and it says if you have money you can now buy a get out of prison card like monopoly.

  20. Tanz 20

    Anyone who chooses to commit a crime, makes that choice, it has nothing to do with skin colour. We are all responsible for our actions, and it is not somehow the fault of society. Race should have nothing to do with it, and separate prisons won’t change anything, that is the path of separatism. We have very decent systems in place in NZ, ever seen an Asian prison?

    • Wonderpup 20.1

      This is such a reductionist view of the world, I wonder if you mean it seriously. And if you do, are you well?

    • michelle 20.2

      Don’t compare us to asia Tanz we are not asia and don’t want to be. Our Maori people didn’t go to war to be treated like 2nd class citizens do you know when they introduced the benefit system our Maori soldiers got less pension than non Maori. Also Maori soldiers were not allowed to go into the land ballets like my pakeha grandfather now that is separatism. I suggest you do your homework and learn our history I don’t know where you come from but do some research

  21. Snel 21

    What is so bad being in prison anyway?

    You get breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekly canteen. Sleep warm and dry have television, radio, hot shower get given toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, shampoo, clothes.
    Have time in the gym to be fit and strong, can partake in sport, even gets placed on programmes to further enrich and to enhance knowledge and can do practical work experience such as plumbing, building, welding and such, you even have screws opening and closing your doors they even come and remind you for the courses you are about to miss. Nurses on call and medical and dentist and and and What a life… all is given. If you are so unlucky not to be part of a gang you will have the perfect opportunity to choose for whom you want to be a prospect for.

    No real serious consequences whatsoever. ? no real reason not to go back again.

    Do prisons reflect society in some way?

  22. michelle 22

    Snel you can volunteer to go to prison for a few months I suggest you get your buttock ready because you have no idea do you about our prisons

    • Snel 22.1

      Where do people get the idea from that prison is all about being raped and fiddled with. True, rapes do occur but it is not as much and If butt is asked for it is usually voluntary given with some form of payment. And Yes involuntary residence is a be-ach of a pain in the butt. Thank you very much. Regards.

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