September 01, 2015
Time Corrections addressed Maori prisoners
A former probation officer says it’s time the Corrections Service and justice system addressed the disproportionate number of Maori in prison.
Tom Hemopo has filed a Waitangi Tribunal claim with the backing of Hawkes Bay iwi Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Pahauwera, and he seeking an urgent hearing.
He says the fact half the male prison population and 63 percent of female prisoners are Maori points to a systemic problem, compounded by the high reoffending rate among Maori.
He says his own experience shows there are other ways to do things.
" I suppose I was a non conformist. I did things the way that I saw appropriate for our people and that usually got me into strife with management. But I persevered and in the end they backed off and let me do what I was doing" he says.
Tom Hemopo says high numbers of Maori prisoners casts a stigma over all Maori.
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