November 08, 2023
Think tank probes high remand rate
Victoria University Te Herenga Waka’s Centre for Justice Innovation wants to know why nearly half of prison inmates are there on remand.
Lead researcher Everard Halbert says that’s potentially a travesty of justice as they haven’t been found guilty.
The two year research projected is funded by a $714,504 grant from the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation.
Mr Halbert says the percentage of the prison population on remand has doubled since 2015 to 44 prevent, making it is among the highest among developed nations.
He says it’s more likely Māori will be remanded in custody, which has severe consequences both for individuals and their whanau and community.
“What’s the impact on their taha hinengaro, their mental health; on their wairua spiritual health; on their tinana physical health; and finally on the whanau health, and that is going to impacton hapu and iwi as well – what is that going to mean for the people back home,” Mr Halbert says.
The average time a prisoner is kept in remand is between two and three months, during which time they don’t have access to rehabilitation programmes or treatment for underlying issues like drugs and alcohol dependency.