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Percentage of Māori in court rises as numbers drop
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A lawyer and justice reform advocate says an initiative to keep young people out of the criminal justice system hasn't worked for Māori as well as it should.

Julia Whaipooti, who is a member of the Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group, says changes in the way police deal with young offenders has led to a reduction in the number of young people who are prosecuted and convicted, including Māori.

But the proportion of those who are prosecuted being Māori has increased from 40 percent to 60 percent since 2016.

"Police have actively to their credit changed their behavour to try to address the numbers of young people going (through) because they know there's a pipeline. They know the earlier and younger someone touches the formal justice system the more likely they are to graduate up that. But they are taking steps on an existing structure that wasn't created by Māori, doesn't work for Māori and hurts Māori a lot." Ms Whaipooti says.

That's why there is a continuing call from Māori to be able to create their own system to do things their own way, and they want to resources to do that.


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