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Ed Sheeran

Treaty overlooked in Corrections non-strategy
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A prison reform advocate says he's shocked Corrections doesn't have a programme of Treaty of Waitangi training for staff and especially for its senior managers, given that one in two inmates are Maori.

Gilbert Taurua, a principal adviser at the New Zealand Drug Foundation, says the strongest part of the Waitangi Tribunal's report of the crown's response to Maori reoffending is a recommendation to include treaty principals in the Corrections statute.

Mr Taurua has been supporting retired probation officer Tom Hemopo, who brought the claim that the failure to do anything about the number of Maori revolving back into prison was a treaty breach.

He says the report revealed Corrections had no strategy, no measurable targets, no meaningful agreements with iwi, and no budget to tackle what was a major problem for Maori society.

"This is a big beast. We're talking $100,000 a person (a year), we're close to 10,000 people sitting in our prison system. We need to put more preventative resources into the mix," Mr Taurua says.

Drugs are a major reason why people are in prison, either because they faced drug charges or had underlying addiction issues, but prisons are not good places to do drug treatment.

FULL INTERVIEW WITH GILBERT TAURUA

 

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