The New Zealand Prison system: Who are the real criminals?

post by Hollie Oswald

Another year has gone by and the New Zealand prison population continues to rise at a devastatingly fast rate. With one of the fastest growing prison numbers in the world the ‘tough on crime’ attitude Aotearoa has adopted seems to be failing us. Contrary to popular belief, prison does little towards rehabilitating inmates and instead rates of re-offending increase after being incarcerated (Corrections, 2017). We currently have 10,695 citizens sitting in prison cells, which not only has astronomical costs on society, but also inhibits individual’s opportunities to contribute to communities (Corrections, 2017). The prison crisis facing the nation is a longstanding problem that has seen similar punitive solutions throughout the different governments. Yet we seem to invite the wool to be pulled over our eyes so we can continue to ignore the structural and circumstantial drivers of crime. Continue reading “The New Zealand Prison system: Who are the real criminals?”

Reducing Prison Numbers

post by  Sophie Young

New Zealand prisons are full. New Zealanders are debating whether to build more prisons and lock away more criminals, or to somehow reduce the numbers of prisoners. We have the seventh-highest prison population rate in the OECD, with 155 prisoners per 100,000 population (Stats NZ). We also have statistical evidence suggesting institutional racism. In 2016, Māori made up 15% of the general population and 55.6% of people receiving prison sentences (Johnston, 2016).

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Social work: The colonial project lives on through us

post by an Unwilling Coloniser 

Sitting opposite to a whanau in distress, my stomach churned as my colleague asked me to put a cross through the square on my page. I looked at the square, it looked back at me. It wasn’t just a square; it was a husband, a father, a grandfather. I glanced up at the family and felt shame. The identity of their loved one was suddenly subject to the nasty strokes of my insistent blue pen.

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Is unconscious racism hard-wired into Aotearoa New Zealand society?

post by Annie Summerfield 

Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand (Aotearoa), disproportionately feature in the country’s most negative statistics across social, economic and political platforms.  Whether the disparities are in the areas of crime, education, health, homelessness or socioeconomic disadvantage, Māori feature strongly.  With Te Aniwa Hurihanganui reporting Māori youth are particularly at risk for committing suicide  , Sarah Monod de Froideville reporting on the over-representation of Maori in the youth justice system , and Māori being significantly more likely than non-Māori to be placed in state care, and to experience homelessness, for example, this arguably suggests the problem is not with Māori but, rather, as Dr Ian Hyslop points out, a result of institutional bias . 

Continue reading “Is unconscious racism hard-wired into Aotearoa New Zealand society?”