Thursday October 19, 2017   Last updated 03:54AM
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Murihiku pilot for iwi justice
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The far south could soon have iwi community panels as an alternative to courts for some offenders.

Damion Rangitutia, the Southern district Maori responsiveness manager, is working with runanga to establish the panels as part of a national drive to tackle the overrepresentation of Maori in prison and cut Maori offending by 25 percent.

Maori make up 21 percent of those coming before the courts in the district, despite being just 9 percent of the population of the district.

Acting Inspector Rangitutia says the panel would deal with low-level offences such as driving matters, which for many offenders becomes the entry point into the criminal justice system.

The panels means community support could be organised to help the offender obtain a driver’s licence or a job.

While the panels are collaboration with iwi, eligibility to come before them would be based on age and the level of offending, not ethnicity.

 

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