August 31, 2015
Claim lodged on Maori prison numbers
Retired probation officer Tom Hemopo has filed a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal alleging the crown has failed to take steps to reduce the number of Maori in prison.
The Corrections Claim has the backing of two Hawkes Bay iwi entities – Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated and Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust.
Mr Hemopo says while Maori make up just 15 percent of the population, they make up half of all men and 63 percent of all women in prison.
The reoffending rates for Maori are also are significantly higher than for any other ethnicity.
The claim says Corrections let its Maori Strategic Plan lapse without any consultation with Maori in 2013 and since then it has had no strategy to address Maori reoffending.
Mr Hemopo, from Ngati Maniapoto, Rongomaiwahine and Ngati Kahungunu, is seeking an urgent hearing because whanau, communities and victims of offenders are suffering.
He says he wants to hold the crown to account and challenge the stereotype that there is something about Maori that makes them criminals.
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