New Zealand Law Society - Hōkai Rangi strategy aims to address Māori reoffending and imprisonment

Hōkai Rangi strategy aims to address Māori reoffending and imprisonment

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The Government has launched Hōkai Rangi, the Department of Corrections’ new departmental strategy designed to address the long-term challenge of Māori reoffending and imprisonment.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says Hōkai Rangi will be implemented over the five-year period from 2019-2024 and contains a series of short and medium-term actions, as well as long-term outcomes and required new approaches.

The strategy was developed in early 2019 with a reference group of experts, including Māori with experience of the Corrections system, both in custody and in the community.

The initial steps include:

  • Co-designing systems of partnership with Māori;
  • Developing an action plan for the strategy's implementation;
  • Identifying measures and indicators to enable tracking of progress;
  • Embedding accountability for achieving the strategy's objectives across the organisations; and
  • Establishing appropriate forms of governance.

“Our Corrections system has not worked for the majority of Māori. We’ve all seen the statistics and they are so enduring that the reality that over half of our prison population is Māori has just become a normal fact of life," Mr Davis says.

“The status quo is no longer acceptable. Hōkai Rangi is a bold and long overdue strategy which ultimately aims to lower the proportion of Māori in Corrections care to match the Māori share of the general population.”

The Department of Corrections says Hōkai Rangi expresses its commitment to delivering great outcomes with and for Māori in its care and their whānau, so that it can begin to address the significant over-representation of Māori in the corrections system.

"This strategy therefore ultimately aims to lower the proportion of Māori in our care to a level that matches the Māori share of the general population," says Chief Executive Christine Stevenson.

"We acknowledge and support the concurrent work arising from Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata: Safe and Effective Justice – the name given to the Ministry of Justice sector work programme for criminal justice reform through systemic change, to improve community safety and the way justice works. The programme began in 2018 and has several workstreams, all focused on ensuring voices and experiences within the system are heard.

"Over the next six months a number of workstreams will report back on their findings, including the Justice Advisory Group – Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora, which will focus on systemic change recommendations. Earlier this year Ināia Tonu Nei, the Hui Māori organised by Te Ohu Whakatika following the 2018 Justice Summit, was held to hear Māori voices on justice reform and provide recommendations. Later this year there will be a report from the Victims’ Summit.

"These work programmes and recommendations will affect and inform the way we approach and conduct our work. While we have attended many of the hui and engaged with some of the advisory groups during the development of this strategy, we will study the recommendations to ensure our outcomes and actions are consistent. A coordinated approach will also ensure that our efforts within Ara Poutama Aotearoa will be amplified, more efficient, and sustainable."

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