10 May 2019

$100m to help break cycle of Māori offending and imprisonment

6:54 pm on 10 May 2019

A new $98 million scheme to help break the cycle of Māori reoffending and imprisonment and reduce the prison population by 30 percent has been announced.

A closeup of the lock of a  jail cell with iron bars and a bunch of key in the locking mechanism with the door open

The scheme will aim to create an environment so the tāne (men) can learn about their culture and identity while addressing the issues put on them in prison. Photo: 123RF

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis made the pre-Budget announcement this afternoon at Northland Region Corrections Facility.

The initiative will be co-designed and implemented by Māori with Corrections, Te Puni Kōkiri, and the Ministry for Social Development while also working with hapū and iwi.

Its aim will be to bring programmes and initiatives together with whānau, iwi and hapū to create an environment so the tāne, or men, can learn about their culture and identity while addressing the issues put on them in prison.

Kelvin Davis, Minister for Crown/Māori Relations, Corrections, and Tourism

Kelvin Davis Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The scheme will enable people to experience a kaupapa Māori and whānau-centred approach for all of their time with Corrections.

Māori make up more than half of the prison population and Mr Davis said that meant the current system clearly did not work for Māori and change was needed.

He said the $98m, to be used over four years, was a major first step in changing the way corrections operated.

"The answer is not another programme. This is a new pathway for people in prison and their whānau to walk together. This is a system change and a culture change for our prisons - and that change starts today."

It will target tāne under 30 years old, as they have the highest recidivism rates.

"It's about reducing reoffending so there are fewer victims of crime, building closer partnerships with Māori, and enabling us to keep delivering on our target to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent."

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