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Ed Sheeran

Support for whanau critical in pathway from prison
Photo: Pixabay.

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A Māori sociologist and prison reform advocate say a $10 million programme to develop Māori pathways out of prison for inmates at Christchurch Women’s Prison needs to look at supporting the whole whānau, not just the women being shown the door.

University of Auckland Professor Tracey McIntosh says leaving prison is difficult not just for prisoners but for their families.

She says while wahine may have undergone rehabilitation programmes in prison, their whānau have not had the same opportunities.

"When wahine goes into the prison very early, they do a lot of their growing in there. It's really difficult when they come out because they don't know each other in the same way. This (programme) allows people to co-determine their future together, to get the kind of support that will be necessary for that. The outcomes we would hope to see are really disrupting of that transfer of social inequality right across the whānau, not just for individuals," Professor McIntosh says.

If the programme works, it needs to be rolled out as soon as possible to other prisons.

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