Former Director of Māori for Serco says Māori-based programmes could prevent prison fights

By Harata Brown

A former Director of Māori for Serco has come forward claiming that if Māori-based programmes had been implemented in the first place, then in prison fighting could have been prevented.

Awhitia Mihaere claims it's not a coincidence that violence and criminal behaviour in prisons have come to light.

Mihaere says that the latest problems highlights that programmes in prisons and professional development for prison officers need to be directed at kaupapa Māori initiatives.

Last week former cultural advisor at Mt Eden Prison, Hemana Waaka said that the Government needs to seriously consider expression of interest from iwi to administer public prisons and Mihaere agrees.

But Prime Minister John Key says private entities can tender for the administration of prisons but it's not a matter of ethnicity.

Mihaere says however that if iwi consider to administrate prisons in the absence of Serco, mana whenua must be at the table making decisions with senior management.