Why every Maori should be outraged by how racist National’s Bootcamps really are
You know it’s election time when National starts promising harsher and more punitive law and order policy, but I believe that Maori should be up in arms over National’s latest get tough on crime brainfart because the truth beneath the bootcamp headlines is that this is a remarkably racist programme.
What hasn’t been explained is why the bootcamps are being created in the first place. The point is to be able to put 14, 15, 16 and 17 year olds into adult courts and that these youth would then be placed into the bootcamps before being released from prison.
How does a 14, 15, 16 or 17 year old get sent to an adult court and then off to bootcamp? Under National’s proposal, a 14, 15, 16 and 17 year old would be labelled a Youth Serious Offender if they committed an offence while in a youth facility, if they commit a crime that is punishable by 14 years and if they get 70 points on a 14 point Police test.
There are a whole number of issues here that are unacceptable.
The first is that we should only ever send 14, 15, 16 or 17 year olds to the adult court if they have committed a serious offence like murder or rape, (which the law currently allows for).
The second issue is that many youth are sent to youth facilities not as a punishment but because there isn’t anywhere else for them to go. Linking that to an extra punishment misses why most young popes are sent to these facilities.
The third issue is that a crime of 14 years includes aggravated robbery and burglary. Sending 14, 15, 16 or 17 year olds to adult courts for burglary or aggravated robbery is an enormous escalation for very little ‘justice’.
The fourth issues is the highly subjective Police test which asks questions that are heavily biased against you if you are Maori. Being from a poor school will penalise you. If your family commit crimes will penalise you. Truancy will penalise you. CYFs notifications will penalise you. All stats that Maori are heavily over represented in.
So a biased and racially charged police test will be welded onto young people who commit property offences while held in youth facilities?
All this bootcamps policy will see are more Maori teenagers being prosecuted in an adult court rather than a youth court which will see more young Maori being sent to prison.
It’s a like a self fulfilling policy to create and punish more Maori offenders. The only people who will be happy about Bootcamps are the private prisons who will profit from more prisoners.
Not only do bootcamps not work, they are ultimately structurally racist as well.
We should be giving Bootcamps the boot, not supporting them!