12 Nov 2015

Waitangi Tribunal to hear claim over Māori in prison

6:32 pm on 12 November 2015

The Waitangi Tribunal has granted an urgent hearing of a claim alleging the Crown has failed to reduce the number of Māori in prison and high reoffending rates.

The claim was filed by retired probation officer Tom Hemopo and claims the Crown has failed to make a high-level commitment to bringing down the number of Māori in prison.

Auckland Prison at Paremoremo.

Auckland Prison at Paremoremo. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

It asserts that despite the Department of Corrections dealing with high numbers of Māori offenders, the reoffending rates for Māori are significantly higher than any other ethnicity.

Tom Hemopo, Waitangi Tribunal claimant.

Tom Hemopo, Waitangi Tribunal claimant. Photo: Supplied

Mr Hemopo's claim is being supported by Ngāti Kahungunu (Iwi Incorporated) and Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust.

"I am grateful to the Waitangi Tribunal for recognising the seriousness of the issues and hope that the hearing of this claim will lead to the Crown making the changes that are so long overdue," he said.

The hearing will be held next year.

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