Justice Minister outlines first steps for criminal justice reform
Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced a number of commitments the government has made to respond to two reports on the criminal justice system.
Two reports, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform from the Chief Victims Advisor have been released. Both recommend a fresh approach to the way criminal justice has been approached.
Mr Little says the government is announcing a new direction for criminal justice reform, with an immediate commitment to doing justice differently.
“The reports released today are the product of some of the most extensive community engagement over our criminal justice system ever, and I thank Te Uepū and Dr Kim McGregor for their work in producing these reports. I also want to acknowledge the work put into Inaia Tonu Nei – Now is the Time, the Hui Māori report released in July this year.
"The Government is open to reaching across the aisle on tackling our failed criminal justice system and building a new consensus on how we approach this issue.
“We need to change the course of our criminal justice system to ensure less offending, less reoffending, and fewer victims of crime who are better supported. 30 years of locking more people up for longer has not changed re-offending rates nor made communities safer."
Mr Little says as a first step to respond to the reports' recommendations, the government has committed to:
- Ensuring the environment in which justice is administered is safe and effective for victims, offenders, and all participants – with a further announcement on this to be made in coming days.
- Comprehensive system change over time that treats victims with respect and dignity, treats offenders more effectively in order to reduce offending, and makes the system more responsive to community expectations of accountability and harm prevention.
- Make the pilot Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) courts in Auckland and Waitakere permanent immediately, and to immediately fund a new AODT court in Hamilton because of the impact these courts have on reducing offending. Within two years, AODT Court participants are 23% less likely to reoffend for any offence, 35% less likely to reoffend for a serious offence, and 25% less likely to be imprisoned because of their reoffending.
- The rollout of other therapeutic and specialist courts over time.
- Working with Māori on decision-making to improve outcomes across the justice system.
“Transforming our criminal justice system will take time. We need to both address immediate issues with the current system and also deliver a long-term plan for changing the system," he says.
Last updated on the 12th December 2019