December 08, 2016
Maori the mainstream for justice reforms
Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox is welcoming the rise in the youth justice age to include 17-year-olds.
Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley say the change won’t happen until 2019, and those accused of violent crimes must still go through the adult courts.
Ms Fox says with 71 percent of youth in prison being Maori, something needed to be done.
She says changing the youth justice age should just be the start of an overhaul of the Corrections and state care systems.
"When we structure and restructure the organisations that deal with those young people, those children, those men and those women, then Maori needs to be the mainstream, not the tag on 'we are the mainstream' and the programmes that come in to play. Rehabilitation and so on need to reflect that," says Marama Fox.
The second bill covering reform of state care was introduced to parliament yesterday.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says as well as extending the youth justice system to include lower-risk 17 year olds, the bill will allow young people to remain in care or return to care up until the age of 21, with transition support and advice available up to 25.
She says the bill amends the purposes and principles of the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act to give explicit recognition to key Maori concepts of mana tamaiti / tamariki, whakapapa and whanaungatanga when working with tamariki Maori.
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