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Ed Sheeran

School exclusion path to prison

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A Maori criminologist says many of the young Maori women who end up in prison have been denied a human right to an education because of zero tolerance school policies.

Associate professor Tracey McIntosh from the University of Auckland told the Maori Women’s Welfare League conference mass incarceration of parts of Maori society was creating cumulative and intergenerational disadvantage.

From running weekly classes at the Auckland Regional Women’s Correctional Facility, she discovered almost all the wahine had been excluded from the compulsory education system by age 13.

That shows how good policy can produce terrible outcomes.

" All of us can understand why you would have a zero tolerance policy in schools for drugs and for violence, we want our tamariki to be in places that are safe but if you have a zero tolerance that excludes our children, particularly those that may have scarcity in their lives but in some places some elements may be in abundance then we have to have a plan of where they go. We are actually excluding our tamariki from a human right of education," she says.

Dr McIntosh says the women’s lives were marked by violence and suffering, and they had social harm done to them as well as doing it themselves.

DR TRACEY MCINTOSH INTERVIEW

 

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