The prison population has hit 10,000 - an all-time high. 56% of these inmates are Maori - another all time high. What's going on?

In February 2017, New Zealand’s prison population hit 10,100 - an all-time high - and an increase of 364% in the last 30 years.  A month later, the NZ Herald reported that 56.3% of that total are Maori - also an all-time high - even though Maori make up only 15% of the population. Unfortunately, Maori are seven times more likely to be given a custodial sentence than pakeha and eleven times as many Maori are remanded in custody awaiting trial. The corollary is that if Maori were incarcerated at the same rate as non-Maori, there would only be 4,900 Kiwis in prison.  Any attempt to explain New Zealand’s high prison population must therefore begin with an analysis of why Maori are so over-represented in our offending statistics.

The impact of colonialism on Maori imprisonment

New Zealand’s colonial past is populated with social, economic and political policies which subjugated and penalised Maori. Moana Jackson (1988) has described these historical policies as:

“specific acts of institutional racism and social policy that have denied Maori people the economic and emotional resources to retain and transmit their cultural values”. 

He argues that as a result,  New Zealand now has a monocultural justice system that entirely ignores the spirit of the Treaty of Waitangi which was supposed to establish a partnership between the British and Maori - and, in the Māori translation, guaranteed the latter unqualified exercise of ‘chieftainship’ over their own lands, villages, property and treasures.

It is self-evident that if Maori ceased to own their own land, the chiefs’ power base would be diminished and their capacity for partnership eliminated. AUT lecturer, Kylee Quince, says that in the 60 years following the signing of the treaty, this is exactly what happened: the settlers and the colonial government went about acquiring Maori land and resources “by way of negotiation, crooked dealings, warfare and confiscation”.  Prof John Pratt, from VUW, cites evidence that from 1840 onwards, Maori cultural values and mechanisms of social control were also suppressed by the magistrates of the time as the British justice system was imposed on the country. During this period, the Maori language was banned and Maori culture and mana were slowly ‘silenced’.

Jackson argues that as a result, New Zealand now has a monocultural justice system, one that ignores Maori culture and values. Quince says that as a result,

“Maori are underrepresented as police, legislators, judges, lawyers and jurors and consequently lack any input into the norms and processes of the system”. 

She goes on to say there is a perception among many Maori that the law is a “blunt pakeha tool of coercion against Maori” and points to the on-going fraught relationship between Maori and police.

Perhaps therefore it should be no surprise that from about 1950 onwards, Maori have been prosecuted more frequently than European offenders, held on remand more frequently, and then sent to prison more frequently. Maori defendants are also less likely to have legal representation and more likely to plead guilty. In other words, there is institutional bias by the police who arrest more Maori, by lawyers who represent Maori and by judges who sentence Maori.  Academics ascribe this bias to:

“the formation of unfavourable stereotypes of Maoris in the minds of adjudicating officials”.

This brief introduction to institutional racism goes some way to explaining why 56% of prisoners in New Zealand are Maori.  

The introduction of neoliberalism to New Zealand

Things got worse in 1984. Up to that point in our history, New Zealand was a ‘social democratic’ society with a strong focus on full employment, equal opportunities for everyone (except perhaps for Maori) and a supportive welfare state.

But in the latter half of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher came to power and implemented neoliberal, trickle-down economic policies. In 1984, these feral ideas found fertile soil in New Zealand under the Labour Government of David Lange and Roger Douglas. New Zealand abandoned its long-standing commitment to full employment, sold off state assets, removed subsidies to industry and agriculture, and cut welfare payments. Over the next 30 years, the gap between the rich and the poor grew at an alarming rate, and the compassionate egalitarian society we once perceived ourselves to be, began to dissolve.

Unfortunately, neoliberalism is also associated with punitive penal policies towards those who can’t keep up. Cavadino and Dignan (2006) write:

“The neoliberal society tends to exclude both those who fail on the economic marketplace and those who fail to abide by the law - in the latter case by means of imprisonment…”

The authors cite research suggesting that...

“as a general rule, economic inequality is (also) related to penal severity: the greater the inequality in society the higher the overall level of punishment”.  

New Zealand commentator Max Rashbrooke says this happens because the income gap causes people to "lose their sense of what life is like for people in the other half". 

Kylee Quince agrees that New Zealand is ‘incredibly harsh on people’ at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. She points out that:

"About half of people in prison in New Zealand are there for property and drug offending. Very few Western nations send people to prison for those types of offences”.  

In general, those treated the harshest are Maori who have been at the bottom ever since their lands were stolen.

Explaining the relationship between neoliberalism and our high rate of imprisonment

John Pratt believes that ‘penal populism’ is the mechanism by which neoliberalism exacerbated our exploding prison population. He says the social and economic changes introduced in the 1980s created a sense of existential angst; job security disappeared, the influence of trade unions declined, finance companies collapsed and inflation went up. The rising crime rate (prior to 1990) also contributed to these anxieties. Prof Pratt believes there was a perception that governments were no longer in control (of crime in particular), and that politicians and political processes no longer responded to the needs of ‘ordinary people’.

In 1996, this dissatisfaction with the political process led to the abolition of ‘first past the post’ and the introduction of MMP. This facilitated the rise of the Act party which was subsequently responsible for the introduction of a ‘three strikes’ laws in New Zealand. This adds to the prison population by reducing the availability of parole.

In the latter half of the 20th century, there were also significant changes in the structure of the media. Public service television virtually disappeared while social media and talkback radio enabled ordinary citizens, as opposed to experts, to express their point of view. Emotion rather than reason became a legitimate and significant portion of the political narrative.  Governments stopped listening to what judicial experts had to say about the ineffectiveness of prison as a deterrent and passed more ‘tough on crime’ laws.  In response, between 1985 and 1999, the prison population doubled.

From 2001, the so-called Sensible Sentencing Trust played a major role as journalists increasingly turned to Garth McVicar for ‘expert’ analysis. Because of the extraordinary exposure McVicar was granted by the media, ‘law and order’ became the dominant discussion of the decade. As a result, even though crime began dropping in the 1990s, the public were led to believe it was still going up.  Between 2000 and 2008, the Labour Government had to build four new prisons to keep up with the consequences of their punitive policies.  

The National Party also played its part. In 2011, in response to the murder of 18-year-old Christie Marceau who was stabbed to death by a young man on remand, Garth McVicar began yet another law and order campaign.  National then introduced the Bail Amendment Act (2013) making it substantially harder for offenders awaiting trial to get bail. 

The number of prisoners on remand sky-rocketed and in 2015, the prison population hit 9,000. In a propaganda piece in the NZ Herald, Justice Minister, Judith Collins attempted to blame the growing prison population on an increase in violent offenders. But even she had to acknowledge that most of the increase over the previous 12 months was due to the growing number of inmates on remand. In her superficial explanation, Ms Collins omitted to mention that the vast majority of these remand prisoners are Maori. In fact, she made no mention of the over-representation of Maori in prison at all. Nor did she mention poverty or the increase in inequality in New Zealand as contributing factors to the burgeoning prison population. 

Conclusion

Another year has gone by and now over 10,000 Kiwis are in prison.  It is not possible to explain New Zealand’s record high rate of imprisonment without reference to New Zealand’s colonial past. There is no doubt that this pushed Maori to the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. The introduction of neoliberal policies in the 1980s increased economic disparity pushing Maori (and everyone else near the bottom rung) down even further. For the homeless, it pushed them off the ladder altogether – often into prison.

By highlighting violent crime, the Sensible Sentencing Trust, with the willing help of the media, then united the National and Labour Parties in a seemingly endless competition to be tough on crime.  ‘Criminals’ have become an easy target, scapegoated by politicians of every persuasion for practically every problem in society.  In this punitive environment, passing tough on crime laws is easy.  No wonder our prison population is at an all-time high.

Comments (30)

by Chris Morris on May 23, 2017
Chris Morris

I don't know where Kylee Quince got her data from, but it seems totally at variance with the official statistics:

http://www.corrections.govt.nz/resources/research_and_statistics/quarter...

http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/yearbook/socie...

If the official statistics are correct, then that makes many of the other comments in the article wrong as well. It also doesn't explain why PIs who are lower on the socioeconomic scale that Maori, make up a lot less of the prison population.

 

by Roger Brooking on May 24, 2017
Roger Brooking

@Chris: I presume you are referring to Quince's claim that "half of people in prison in New Zealand are there for property and drug offending". 

The official stats are highly misleading. About 80% of crime occurs under the influence of alcohol and drugs or is commited to feed an addiction. But the police do not conduct AOD assessments on those they prosecute to find out what the driving force is behind the average burglar - so most AOD related crime is not recorded as such. 

by Chris Morris on May 24, 2017
Chris Morris

Roger

I do not disagree with the statement that the majority of prisoners do have a drug or alchol addiction and that their crimes were probably committed while under of the influence of drugs or to fund their habit. However, that is not what you wrote.

You say the statistics are misleading, but offer no evidence as to the contrary. The statistics record what they were convicted for, not what the criminal's personal circumstances are. From the data, most of the convictions are for crimes of violence, which even Kylee Quince implies could mainly be against Maori victims. And as Kylee admits, a lot of offending that could be dealy with by a fine is not imposed on Maori because they are unemployed.

https://cdn.auckland.ac.nz/assets/law/about/centres%20and%20associations...

I note in the crime stats that about quarter of the people in prisons are on remand. One could legitimately argue that with the number of people remanded at large committing further offences, the conditions are still too lenient.  The thing to look at is why does their day in court take so long to come about. Faster justice would significantly decrease the prison population.

by Roger Brooking on May 24, 2017
Roger Brooking

In my opinion what's needed is for a political party to find the courage to set a goal to reduce the prison population by 50%. The Opportunities Party (Gareth Morgan's lot) are seriously considering this. The first step would be to scrap the new prison that is planned. That would save $2.5 billion which National has allocated for increasing prison capacity - which could then be spent on crime reduction strategies.

Then we could scrap the Bail Amendment Act which is responsible for the dramatic surge in the number of people on remand.  We could also look to Finland which reduced its prison poulation by 78% over a period of about 20 years.

by Chris Morris on May 24, 2017
Chris Morris

According to the most recent statistics I can find, the number of prisoners in remand seems to have been constant for about the last 12 years

http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLECODE7321

That implies that the law change did not increase the prison numbers. What statistics are you using?

by Andrew Geddis on May 24, 2017
Andrew Geddis

@Chris,

The statistics you cite go up to June 2015. According to the Ministry of Justice:

What we have seen in 2015 is an increase in the use of remand across a wide range of offending, including some of the offending specified in the Bail Amendment Act, but also for less serious offending such as offences against justice and fraud. The result has been a rise in the proportion of prosecuted people being remanded in custody even though the number of prosecutions has remained essentially flat. 

Note that they said this as part of a forecast (in 2015) that NZ would have 10,090 prisoners by 2025. We got there 8 years early!

There's also this interesting paper that looks at the drivers of NZ's prison population.

 

by Chris Morris on May 24, 2017
Chris Morris

Andrew

Yes the increase in prison numbers does seem to be those on remand. The data I linked to earlier which stopped in 2015 unfortunately. It did show that about 11-12k people were remanded in custody each year since about 2005. As the number at the snapshot has been increasing, this indicates that the time on remand is increasing. Has this been delays by the justice system, prosecution or the defence? If the first two, then that is cause for concern. The other factor to look at is how many of those remanded in custody get convicted with a custodial sentence. If it is in say the 90% range, then is that a big concern? The prison time on remand reduces their time on conviction.

The linked data in the report you referenced shows quarter of the remands in custody is for breaches of orders (are these the offences against justice?).  These also appear to account for a significant part of the increase in custodial sentences. If people are breaching their bail conditions, then there would be very little public sympathy for their cases. 

I also note the repart says "Prison sentences started for “property” offences (e.g. arson) remain consistently low, with only 105 prison sentences started in 2014/15." This directly contradicts Kylee's statement "About half of people in prison in New Zealand are there for property and drug offending" , one of the pillars on which Roger built his case. 
 
 

by Roger Brooking on May 24, 2017
Roger Brooking

Perhaps Khylee's statement is not as accurate as it could be. But it is not a pillar on which I built my case. The arguement is that our burgeoning prison population is the result of colonialism, neo-liberalism and penal populism. Whether Khylee's statement is accurate has little bearing on the issue.

And then the real problem is what do we do about it? NZ cannot afford to keep building more prisons. We need the funds for health, education and early intervention programmes which reduce crime. We need fences at the top of the hill - not more ambulances at the bottom.

by Rich on May 25, 2017
Rich

I'd suggest the following positive steps to decrease the prision population:

- introduce a new system of intensive probation, with probation officers given the discretion to put subjects in secure accomodation for short periods, as well as to use tagging, home detention, training courses and movement restrictions to address offending patterns of behaviour. (e.g. keeping gang members away for their problem mates, drunk drivers away from cars or fraudsters away from money).

- introduce new supervised social housing where people can serve home detention sentences and be gnerally monitored, but without the cost and issues of prison

- having done that, remove jail as a sentence for all non-violent crime and parole existing inmates into an appropriate level of supervision

 

by Roger Brooking on May 25, 2017
Roger Brooking

Rich: Excellent suggestions. I'd scrap the Bail Amendment Act of 2013 as well which has increased the number of prisoners on remand by about 1,500 in the last two years.

by Chris Morris on May 25, 2017
Chris Morris

Didn't the women's refuge groups push for the law to be changed so that if someone broke a protection order, they were arrested.

https://www.govt.nz/browse/law-crime-and-justice/abuse-harassment-domest...

How many of the prisoners on remand are these people? Are they responsible for the increase?

by Roger Brooking on May 26, 2017
Roger Brooking

The Act increased the number of situations where a defendant would be subject to a “reverse burden of proof,” having to prove that they are not a risk if released on bail.

According to JustSpeak the Act was only meant to apply to violent offenders and would likely lead to an increase of about 50 extra people a year being remanded in prison.

JustSpeak says Judges appear to be misinterpreting the Act and are using it for non-violent offenders as well including fraud, property offences and offences against justice. This has lead to a  dramatic increase of 1,500 inmates in two years - the Govt's justification for building a new prison.

by Chris Morris on May 27, 2017
Chris Morris

Roger

Your case would be helped a lot if your arguments actually matched the facts.

From the official statistics on sentenced prisoner numbers:

12/13 6259, 12/14 6352, 12/15 6366 12/16 6634.

That is not a big increase. Nowhere near the 1500 you talk about.

The big increase is in prisoners on remand at the snapshots. However, the statistics show that the numbers in custody has stayed about the same on an annual basis (it actually dropped 2010-2015 by 15%), but that they are staying in custody longer. So there hasn't been a big increase in remand prisoners not getting bail.  Even though overall numbers dropped, the data shows the numbers in custody on remand for offences against justice procedures (breaking bail conditions or not being able to meet them) has a significant increase, but this has been a near linear trend since about 1999. 

Unless it is buried in one of their secondary references, there is no mention in the JustSpeak report of what the time weighted distribution of remand prisoners is, or what they are on remand for. They just make the unsubstanciated comment that "Many people are remanded in prison because of their housing situation" . Of course, the numbers could be dramatically reduced if the police stopped locking up men for breaching protection orders or the like. Is that what you are arguing for?

by Roger Brooking on May 27, 2017
Roger Brooking

Chris You seem to missing the point entirely. The prison population is at an all time high of 10,000 - while the crime rate has been going down for 20 years. Those are the offical statistics. We need to find a new approach and stop wasting taxpayers money on new prisons. 

by Chris Morris on May 27, 2017
Chris Morris

It is you Roger who doesn't understand the data and has an illogical argument.

The prison muster numbers have increased. This is mainly because the numbers on remand have increased, not because more are being remanded in custody, but because they are spending longer between arrest and conviction. The number of convicted prisoners (male and female) in Dec 2009 was 6515, 7 years later 7140.

The ethnicity is a red herring to your argument. According to the prison stats, the Maori percentage in Dec 2009 was 50.8% http://www.corrections.govt.nz/resources/research_and_statistics/quarter...

In Dec 2016, the most recent data, it was still 50.8% (not the 56% you use). http://www.corrections.govt.nz/resources/research_and_statistics/quarter...

The % held for violence and sex offences has gone from 62% to 58%, hardly a big change,  Dishonesty has gone from 17.5 to 20.2% in the 7 years, while Drug has gone from 8.4 to 13%. I wonder where in the stats they have those convicted of running the meth operations.?

Again in all of this, either your article is wrong or the official statistics are wrong. There isn't a middle ground. 

by Roger Brooking on May 27, 2017
Roger Brooking

You seem to be focussing on the minutiae and missing the big picture. Whether 50% or 56% of inmates are Maori makes absolutely no difference. Both figures are way too high when only 15% of the population are Maori. 

My argument is that the prison muster is at an all time high - that's the main statistic to focus on.  It doesn't really matter why or how we got there.  The point is we can't afford to kid ourselves that building new prisons will solve society's problems. Only Garth McVicar does that.

Prisons don't address the drivers of crime. Nor do they keep the community safe (other than in the short term). The stats to be concerned about are the billions of dollars being spent every year on locking so many people up.

 

by Charlie on May 28, 2017
Charlie

I find the 'legacy of colonialism' a flawed argument.

It is a failure of logic: A classical 'jump to cause' with insufficient analysis.

It also suits the leftist agenda. It's the same logic used by US Democrats and why black Americans in Democrat governed cities are still going backwards compared to other race groups.

Let's not forget that Maori have all the rights and privileges of other New Zealand citizens. As a useful comparison we have seen thousands of penniless immigrants arrive on our shores from Asia who have abided by the law, worked hard and built a successful life in NZ.

What have these landless, uneducated and penniless Asian immigrants got that Maori haven't? In many instances they don't even have a good grasp of English!

In my view the good intentions of middle class, liberal, white folk have been the undoing of Maori. Specifically the provision of open ended welfare and the expectation of lower standards of behavoir from Maori.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

 

by Roger Brooking on May 28, 2017
Roger Brooking

Charlie: Whether you think the legacy of colonialism is flawed or not doesn't alter the facts. And the facts are that over 50% of prisoners are Maori and we now have a record high number of people in prison.

Now here's another fact: they have been put there by middle class, white folk - whose ancestors, by the way, were mostly colonialists.

by Chris Morris on May 28, 2017
Chris Morris

Roger

Going back in the yearbooks, i got to 1970 when about 30% of the prison population was Maori. Then they still imprisoned people for drunkeness and other short sentences.(Remember the silly sentences Dover Samuels got - now they wouldn't even reach court). According to the 1950 yearbook (they don't give the race of prisoners then) for the years 1938-48, about 7-8% of Magistrates Court cases had Maori defendents and less than 20%  Supreme Court were Maori.  If colonisation and racism is the cause of the high imprisonment rate, why the big change between then and now? Do Maori in Australia have a higher imprisonment rate there than white Nzers?

 And your statement about white middle classes putting Maori in prison is just silly.  If that is the level of intellectual rigour in your argument, your post will be correctly ignored as just another liberal rant. Maori are put in prison because they commit imprisonable offences. If you can show that Maori generally get harsher sentences than others in near identical circumstances (as no two cases are ever the same), then you have a justifiable case. Nothing you have written or referenced so far does that.

by Roger Brooking on May 28, 2017
Roger Brooking

Chris:  Even though you think my post is silly, I got an A for it my criminology class. And whatever the nature of my logic, even you seem to be having considerable trouble ignoring it.

But you're still missing the point. As I keep repeating, its not about the disproportionate number of Maori in prison. Its about the total number of people in prison and the intolerable cost that imposes on the New Zealand taxpayer - an indisputable piece of logic that, so far, you have ignored completely.  

by Chris Morris on May 28, 2017
Chris Morris

I am not ignoring the cost - it is just you have not used any logic to explain how to reduce it, yet keep society safe. You can't even answer if maori are getting harsher prison sentences. The main victims of maori crime are other maori (particularly family members). Saying the high imprisonment rate is colonialism just doesn't cut it in the real world, no matter what grades you get in academia.

With regards  the increase in prison numbers, how much is due to fetal alcohol syndrome? At least one DHB thinks there is a significant link . http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11454886 

by Roger Brooking on May 28, 2017
Roger Brooking

Reducing the prison population is easy.

1) Cut the numbers on remand by repealing the Bail Amendment Act - which has caused about 1,500 of the recent increase in the prison muster.

2) Increase the definition of short sentence from two years to three years creating a bigger pool of  'short term' offenders. Under current legislation, these offenders are currently released automatically after serving half their sentence. That cuts down the number of long term offenders - who currently make up more than 50% of the prison population.

3) Introduce automatic release for short term prisoners after serving one third of their sentence instead of one half. I estimate these last two suggestions would reduce the muster by at least another 1,500.

4) Abolish the three strikes law. We're not playing baseball.

5) Since the Aussies send our offenders back here, send Australian offenders back to Australia. They deserve them.

6) There are two drug courts in Auckland. They reduce reoffending by about 75%.  Roll out the use of drug courts nationwide. Scrap most Corrections rehabilitation programmes which reduce reoffending by only 5% or less. 

That's just a few possibilities. None of them specifically related to Maori.

by Tim Watkin on May 29, 2017
Tim Watkin

If you can show that Maori generally get harsher sentences than others in near identical circumstances (as no two cases are ever the same), then you have a justifiable case. 

Hi Chris, some really interesting research you're pointing to there.

Regarding your point above, there has been pieces of research done around that area by JustSpeak suggesting Maori who are apprehended are more likely to be convicted than Pakeha.  

And the IPCA, while stressing there are complicating factors such as previous convictions, suggest more non-Maori are likely to be let off with a warning, than Maori. 

I'm not claiming any more for the information than it says, but thought you'd be interested. Also, the current Police Commissioner has admitted to "unconscious bias" by police; so there's some admission that in some parts of our justice system, the dominant culture does use bias when using its discrimination in policing matters.

 

 

 

http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2015/11/commissioner-police-ad...

by Chris Morris on May 30, 2017
Chris Morris

Tim

The Scoop news report links to a Just Speak article that apparently no longer exists. I note that even the original; article is a blog post. Even in the Scoop article, which is about juvenile (<16) offenders, it says:

"Of the 3495 theft apprehensions recorded as Caucasian, there were 588 prosecutions. For Māori, of the 5660 apprehensions recorded, 1173 resulted in prosecution (16.8% vs. 20.7%.)."

Is this difference really significant? It certainly doesn't explain the adult prison population.

With regards the IPCA comments, the authority chair only noted the possibility, not that it was happening. The follow up sentence that others don't seem to mention says "Statistics show that a much higher proportion of Maori offenders committing eligible offences have previous criminal convictions."

by Roger Brooking on May 30, 2017
Roger Brooking

Sociologist Jarrod Gilbert writes: Maori are nearly six times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Maori. If the entire population were to be imprisoned at the same rate as Maori, New Zealand's prison muster would skyrocket toward 30,000. 

by Roger Brooking on May 30, 2017
Roger Brooking
This is from a Stuff article, New Zealand's racist justice system - Our law is not colour-blind

 

For cannabis offences  police and the courts exercise discretion all the time - about who to arrest, who to charge, who to convict, who to sentence to jail. From 2010-2014, police and justice figures show Maori made up 51 per cent of prison sentences for cannabis offences, and 40 per cent of all prosecutions and convictions.

And yet, over the same period, Maori made up only 30 per cent of those who received pre-charge warnings - in other words, were let off - compared to 57 per cent of Pakeha. Auckland University sociologist Tracey McIntosh explains this result by saying "You don't have to have individual racist actions if the system itself produces outcomes of judicial racism, of institutional racism."

by Chris Morris on May 30, 2017
Chris Morris

Roger

The Jarrod Gilbert article tells us what we already know and isn't in dispute. Maori are in prison at a lot higher rate than non-Maori. It offers no data on why that is the case. The Stuff article says that numbers of Maori that were apprehended was about the same as non Maori. That would be why the prison populations would be similar. It would also imply that the conviction rates, once apprehended, were similar.

With regards the cannabis convictions, there would be two types of arrests, possession and possession for supply. The latter is treated a lot more seriously than the former. It is also well known that the gangs have a very large influence on drug distribution A Google search brings up high profile cases involving the Maori gang members. Do you have a breakdown as to what the split betwen possession and supply is?  Without that, the numbers show nothing.

If the Tim Watkins' referenced Scoop article data from the JustSpeak paper is correct (the original blog post has gone so I don't know where they got the data from), over 60% of the near 30,000 apprehensions of the children and youths in 2011 were Maori. All of those people would now be in the adult justice system. That would imply the Maori imprisonment rate will continue to increase.

by Roger Brooking on May 30, 2017
Roger Brooking

Chris - what is the point you're really trying to make - that our justice system is not racist...?

by Chris Morris on May 31, 2017
Chris Morris

Roger

You originally made the assertion that the high Maori imprisonment was because of colonialism, quoting people like Moana Jackson and Kylee Quince. I showed that the data didn't support your statements. The fact that you haven't been able provide contra-evidence and have shifted the emphasis of your statements indicates that the evidence isn't there.  

by Roger Brooking on May 31, 2017
Roger Brooking

Chris. Not so - I said the high rate of imprisonment, including Maori imprisonment is due to three things: colonialism, neo-liberlaism and penal populism.

All your comments are about one issue - the Maori statistics. So it is not me who has shifted the focus - that has been done entirely by you. I quoted reputable academics who know more about institutional racism than I do.  I'm inclined to take them at their word. The question is why do want to prove them wrong?

So I'll ask you again. Do you think that  institutional racism hasn't contributed to the high number of Maori in prison? 

 

 

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