April 08, 2014
Prison numbers worry UN team
United National officials have expressed concern at the number of Maori in New Zealand prisons.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention spent the past two weeks was in the country talking to government and non-organisations about detention of prisoners, asylum seekers and refugees, and people with mental or intellectual disabilities.
It also looked at institutional racism in the criminal justice system and recommended that a review be undertaken of the degree of inconsistencies and systemic bias against Maori at all the different levels of the criminal justice system.
It says if such bias results in people being locked up, that constitutes arbitrary detention in violation of international law.
Maori make up more than 50 per cent of the prison population despite only being about 15 per cent of population.
More than 65 percent of women prisoners are Maori.
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