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Public ready for crime talk
Kim Workman

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A criminal justice reform advocate believes the public is ready to hear alternatives to the "tough on crime" brigade.

Kim Workman says the panel headed by former National MP Chester Borrows includes a wide range of skills and experience, including strong Māori representation.

He says past reform efforts like Puao o Te Ata Tū were undermined because officials and politicians haven’t wanted to listen to or work with Māori.

The challenge this time will be for Justice Minister Andrew Little and the Government to follow through on what comes out of the consultation process.

"They’ll be heavily criticized and they’ll be told they’re soft on crime and all the rest of it but look, I really think the public have had enough of that kōrero, I think they’re ready to have an evidence-based discussion to look at what we can do to keep people out of prison. They’re prepared to consider alternatives," Mr Workman says.

He says there are promising signs also in Corrections with things like the new mental health units within some prisons.

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