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Saturday 22nd of February 2020

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Hōkai Rangi: 'We have to try and do things differently' - Jacinda Ardern

Tuesday 20th of August 2019 | Oceania, New Zealand
RNZ News
News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she backs Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis as being best placed to comment on racism in the prison system.

The government has launched an ambitious plan to drastically cut the number of Māori in prison from 52 percent down to 16 - to match the overall Māori population.

The long-term strategy's key focus, Hōkai Rangi, is that whānau and prisoners will get more visits with their families, and more people that they can call while they are behind bars.

Whānau of inmates will also be able to access rehabilitation programmes in the community if they want to.

The strategy states prison staff will be expected to treat prisoners with respect and uphold their mana - like they are worthy of dignity and care.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Morning Report obviously things aren't working in the prison system and there's a disproportionate number of Māori in prison.

Ms Ardern said system failures have led to high imprisonment and reoffending rate and while offenders need to pay a debt to society, there is an opportunity to do something different to bring down these numbers.

She said she supports Mr Davis, who has said parts of the prison system are extremely racist, though would not say whether she herself believes so.

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