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Waititi says prison alternatives needed

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Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi says it’s time to look at alternatives to prison.

The Waiariki MP came under fire this week from Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis for his support for rioting Waikeria prisoners.

He stands by his actions, and says a judgment this week on the inhumane treatment of two wāhine in Auckland Women’s Prison shows the system is absolutely broken.

He says with the majority of inmates both male and female being Māori, it’s time for iwi, hapū and Māori communities look at alternatives to incarceration.

"Incarceration has never worked and there is no work being done in the prisons about how we start to rehabilitate our whānau and also work with those whānau outside because when they are released, where are they sending them to? They're not sending them to another plant. They're sending them back into our communities. What are Corrections sensing back into our communities and what have they done with our whānau while they have been in their care? But there is no caring in there at all. There is no kindness either," Mr Waititi says.

He says the initiative by Kaitaia’s He Korowai Trust to build a 12-bed emergency housing facility suitable for prisoners on remand or probation, including those with mental health problems, shows the sort of innovative thinking that is needed.

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