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Interventions will help to reduce Maori offending

15 August 2006

Effective Interventions approach will help to reduce Maori offending

Māori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said today that the government's Effective Interventions approach will help foster innovative solutions to reduce Māori offending.

"The Labour-led Government is committed to a society where all whanau, young and old, are safe and secure.

The Government's proposal contains four key elements:

- A revamp of the sentencing system so that there is a more transparent, consistent, and standardised approach to sentencing. This will include the establishment of a Sentencing Council and parole reform

- The introduction of home detention as a sentence in its own right for lower-risk offenders

- The introduction of a new tier of community sentences which will increase the number of sentencing options available to judges. These will be part of a clear hierarchy of community-based sentences so that there is clarity about the relationship between sentences in terms of their severity

- Two new drug and alcohol treatment units in prisons and two further general purpose special treatment units to provide intensive rehabilitative programmes in prisons.

"Throughout the country, there are innovative Māori involved in the design and delivery of programmes that address offending. With Government assistance, local Māori will have the opportunity to work alongside Māori offenders who have potential to contribute more to their whanau, despite their criminal offending backgrounds.

"Whanau are asserting themselves to provide positive environments that support anti-criminal behaviour. However, Māori potential continues to be lost in the web of criminal justice. Disassociating Māori with crime is a key priority for me.

"The time is ripe for a more strategic investment in local innovation rather than reliance on overseas models that have not worked well for Māori in the past.

ENDS

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