November 12, 2014
Taonga offer inmates dream of future
A prison reform campaigner has slammed a new Corrections Department policy of stopping inmates bringing taonga Maori into prison.
The department says pounamu and manaia can be illegally traded, and there is also a risk valuable family heirlooms may be stolen.
It also says they may be items of mana which are not appropriate for prisons.
Kim Workman from Rethinking Crime and Punishment says the department has got things back to front.
He says it should celebrate the fact inmates may be carrying items of personal significance and mana.
" We need to honour our prisoners as much as we can. They often don't have much to be honoured about but, if they have taonga of that sort of symbolic importance to them, they should keep them because that is part of that ritual of affirmation, that they are somebody deserving of basic respect and dignity. And those pounamu seem to me to represent not who they are, but, who they could be " he says.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH KIM WORKMAN CLICK ON THE LINK
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