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Student docs expose structure of injustice
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A fresh look at the criminal justice system by medical students from the University of Otago in Wellington has concluded many of the answers lie outside the prison.

The results of the collaborative research project They're Our Whānau were released at the medical school yesterday.

Laura O'Connell Rāpira from advocacy group Action Station, which sponsored the project, says themes that emerged included the extent to which the justice system has been a tool of colonisation, that institutional racism is the reason the state locks up more Māori than non-Māori, and that prison system has failed, going on the extent and severity of reoffending.

She says a wider vision for transforming the justice system needs to include economic fairness.

"We need an end to poverty. We need to focus on early intervention so that's making sure people have community support, tikanga in their lives, good mental health services, good addiction services. The only place you get mental health services and tikanga shouldn't be in prison," Ms O'Connell Rapira says.

The research strengthens the vision that came out of the Government's criminal justice summit for an end to prisons by 2040.


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