Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Racism: You Have to Face it to Fix It

Racism exists within Criminal Justice System – But You Have to Face it to Fix It – Rethinking

“There is clear evidence that personal racism and structural discrimination exists within our criminal justice system” Kim Workman, Spokesperson for Rethinking Crime and Punishment told an audience at the Human Rights Commission Diversity Forum, held at Te Papa.

“But you have to face it to fix it. The UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination asked the New Zealand government in 2005 and 2007 to address issues of ethnic over-representation in the system. The 2007 recommendation called for research on the extent to which the over-representation of Māori could be due to racial bias in arrests, prosecutions and sentences. In 2013, it urged the NZ government to intensify its efforts. We can no longer ignore this issue.”

“We need to understand that providing culturally responsive initiatives such as Rangatahi Youth Courts and Maori Focus Units, commendable as they are, do not address the fundamental and growing disparity between Maori and non-Maori in the criminal justice system.

“You can’t face it without data, and you can’t fix it without courage. If we can determine what is happening, and in what part of the criminal justice sector, we may be able to introduce policies, processes or legislation to counter it. I am reluctantly coming to the view that agencies won’t invest in the research, because they know what they are likely to find.”

“One of the hallmarks of the “get tough” movement over the past three decades has been the lack of evaluation regarding both the potential and actual effectiveness of harsh criminal justice sanctions in controlling crime. Typically, when new punitive sentencing legislation is enacted there is little funding or attention devoted to assessing its likely effects, both intended and unintended.”

Mr Workman recommended that new and existing legislation be subject to a Racial Impact Statement, (similar to a regulatory impact statement) which would identify the unintended consequences of a new initiative or legislative proposal on ethnic over-representation, and consider alternatives that enhance public safety, without creating additional racial disparity within the criminal justice system.

“Racial Impact Statements” are being used to positive effect in the USA” he said. “While proposed changes in sentencing policies are the most obvious decision-making point at which unwarranted racial disparities might emerge, a host of policy decisions at other stages of the criminal justice system can affect the racial/ethnic demographics of the offender population as well. These include adjustments to sentencing guidelines, mandatory sentencing, and other policies that affect length of stay in prison, parole release and revocation policies, and “early” release mechanisms, such as participation in drug treatment or other programs.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On What We Could Do For Hong Kong, If Only We Dared

There has been something repulsive about PM Jacinda Ardern’s assurances that our joint 5 Eyes criticism of China’s actions over Hong Kong – and China’s harsh reaction – are all well understood on both sides. According to Ardern, it has been a case of us saying the sort of things we’ve said before, them acknowledging our need to do so, and then them responding much as we would expect them to do. All neat and tidy. Frankly, if all of this is merely virtue signalling on our part, and huffy declarations of independence on their part, then what’s the point of this diplomatic dance..? More>>


Grant Robertson: Government To Review Housing Settings

New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus More>>


Law Commission: Recommends New DNA Laws For Criminal Investigations

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission today released a report that recommends a new, comprehensive regime to control how DNA is obtained, used and retained for criminal investigations. The report has revealed significant gaps in the operation ... More>>


National: Leader’s Speech At Annual General Meeting

Good morning delegates. It’s an absolute privilege to be speaking as your leader. I’d like to acknowledge the party president, regional chairs, board members, National Party staff, our MPs, our candidates, and most importantly, you – the delegates, ... More>>


Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>


Green Party: Announce Portfolio Reshuffle With Talented And Energised Caucus Team

“The Green Party caucus offers a breadth of talent and energy to the Parliament this term. In ten MPs you have a small business owner, a human rights lawyer, an academic, a climate negotiator, a transport planner, and so much more”, Green Party ... More>>


APEC: New Zealand Ready To Host Virtually

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels