Reoffending strategies ‘should ignore ethnicity’

Strategies used by Corrections to reduce re-offending should be carried out irrespective of ethnicity, Hobson’s Pledge spokesperson Casey Costello said today.

The Waitangi Tribunal today said that the Crown had breached its treaty obligations by failing to tackle the high rate of reoffending by Maori, and that urgent action is needed.

With years of Police experience, Ms Costello is aware of the challenges that exist but blaming the Crown served no purpose.

Strategies used by Corrections to reduce re-offending by Maori have been developed in consultation with Maori for decades, Ms Costello said.

This response by the tribunal removes personal accountability by offenders, and negates any responsibility by the various well-funded rehabilitation agencies that exist, Ms Costello said.

The Waitangi Tribunal appears to be taking a one-size-fits-all approach by suggesting that ethnicity is the driving force for re-offending. 

Everyone who works in Corrections, including Tom Hemopo who brought the claim, knows that there are multiple factors behind each individual’s offending, Ms Costello said.

One simple way to reduce re-offending is through making the focus on the individual rather than assuming ancestry is a determining influence.

“Division and separatism” says Ms Costello, “is clearly failing New Zealanders. Regardless of ancestry, we need to be addressing need and allow each individual to be supported in the way that provides the best opportunity to succeed.”

Hobson’s Pledge believes that the Waitangi Tribunal has outlived its usefulness and should be abolished, and this latest recommendation is evidence that we are correct, Ms Costello said.