December 10, 2020
Restraints undermine prison rehabilitation role
The Māori Law Society says a new report highlighting discriminatory treatment of locked up Māori shows the need for a new approach.
The review for the Human Rights Commission found Māori make-up 62 percent of secure care admissions in Care and Protection Residences, 56 percent of segregation units in prisons and 51 percent of seclusions in health and disability facilities.
Te Hunga Rōia Māori co-president Jamie-Lee Tuuta says it points to a significant problem with the corrections system and its supposed role as a place for rehabilitation.
She says the Māori view is that the system needs to consider the needs of the offender, the victim and the wider community to repair the harm done by offending.
"Some of those things that should be in place to help rebalance after harm has been caused are just not there and further to see our people are put in such conditions does not give us any hope rehabilitation is a focus because we know these types of situation aren't helpful for anyone, let alone Māori," Ms Tuuta says.
Jamie-Lee Tuuta says it’s disappointing that problems identified in the Human Rights Commission’s first report three years ago on seclusion and restraint have not been addressed, and that within Corrections there has been a substantial increase in use of restraints alongside high use of pepper spray.
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