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Maori Leaders Target Maori Offenders

9 May 2002

Maori Leaders Target Maori Offenders: New Prison Policy

Kaumatua will get greater access to Maori in prison in a bid to reduce Maori re-offending, says Corrections Minister Matt Robson at the launch of the new Kaiwhakamana policy today in Rotorua.

“Over half the prison population is Maori. It stands to reason that kaumatua are often the best people to make these offenders face the consequences of their offending,” says Matt Robson.

“Recent statistics show re-offending rates of Maori have dropped by up to 10% in the last year. I have no doubt that is in part due to the success of our new Maori focus units.”

There are five Maori focus units in prisons across New Zealand which are run according to strict tikanga Maori which has been proven to reduce re-offending.

“But still Maori offenders on release face huge pressures to return to a life of crime. I believe this new kaumatua policy will help us prevent that.”

Under the Kaiwhakanama scheme, kaumatua will assist inmates with family relationships and make sure they re-integrate into the community safely.

“Kaumatua will have a direct link to myself as Minister and to the Department of Corrections to assist with the provision of services to Maori,” says Matt Robson.

Kaumatua will have access to prisons across the country, during normal visiting hours and outside these hours by arrangement with prison management.

They will be subjected to normal safety and security checks, and will be treated with the same respect as Ministers of the Crown.

This policy is one of a number of innovations involving Maori who want greater involvement with Maori offenders in the prison system.

Ends

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