INDEPENDENT NEWS

Maori Party Response to High Risk Offenders Report

Published: Mon 8 Nov 2004 04:42 PM
‘Let’s look for unique New Zealand solutions that work’
Maori Party Response to High Risk Offenders Report
8 November 2004
'It has long been recognised that Maori are over-represented, and at increased risk of reconviction, in both prison and community based sentences. As such, the revelation that the ethnicity of the 149 participants in this study was heavily skewed towards Maori (83%) is telling us nothing new' said Mrs Turia today in response to the study of repeat high risk offenders written by Dr Nick Wilson.
‘This study offers a ‘snapshot’ of the complexity of factors leading to high risk offending for approximately 120 Maori individual inmates’.
‘While it is always useful to be informed, it is important also to raise broader questions such as how effective have current psychological interventions been in working with, and addressing, the psyche of Maori inmates?
‘We also need to understand how the reasons for offending by Maori differ from those of other inmates, if we are to develop meaningful responses.’
On National Radio today, Dr Wilson suggested that you have to have interventions which are challenging and allow sufficient time to work.
‘The time has come for those of our people who are continually offending to take responsibility for their actions. They also have to address the whole context of their offending’ said Mrs Turia today. ‘This won’t happen in one short, sharp course’.
‘One of the most effective treatment programmes I have seen working with Maori offenders, is the programme, He Tete Kura Mana Tangata, a programme which operates under tikanga Maori, using the direction of kaupapa tuku iho to challenge participants to take responsibility for their actions’.
‘This is the sort of information the Maori Party is looking at – what are the solutions, how can we achieve change in a way which benefits all?’
‘We always need to think of the bigger picture – that includes the way in which we are able to care for victims and offenders’, said Mrs Turia today.
This research provides us with another urgent reminder that the criminal justice system has not been effective in its response to Maori.
The study reveals that many participants had reported non-completion of previous treatment (37%).
This being the case, clearly we need to look at solutions with high rates of success. The study supports this:
’Even greater support for the need to provide more effective treatment programmes for Maori offenders’. (p11).
On National Radio, Policy Manager Jared Mullins also stated that this group of high-risk offenders have tended to receive interventions which aren’t that well suited for them and aren’t effective for them’.
‘The critical issue is about how to ensure interventions are effective’ said Mrs Turia.
‘This means, not limiting our response to the assessments of psychologists or current programmes offered within prison, but developing responses for Maori offenders informed by our own kaupapa, our own values and world-views’.
ENDS

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