32 years after the Roper Report told us that our Prison system wasn’t working by jailing and punishing too many, we get another Justice Advisory report once again highlighting our debased prison system as deeply damaging, deeply racist and deeply counter productive.
That over 50% of the prison population are Māori when they only make up 15% is the statistic, but that number hides the enormous damage that causes Māori communities.
If white males were imprisoned in NZ at the same rate as Māori are incarcerated, we would have found the political will for reform.
We have been so blind to the impact of colonisation and the get tough on crime mentality that it has made us as compassionate as a lynch mob. This warped focus on suffering over healing is what happens when spite is injected into social policy.
Those who have manufactured fear & manipulated it into tough on crime rhetoric should be ashamed.
Non-violent and non-sexual crimes make up for 42% of our prison population and 51% of those in prison are deemed low to low-medium classification.
We have been led by our anger on what prisons should do and be. That anger has borne us a terrible bitter harvest which sates no ones justice while poisoning mercy.
We are better than this.