Prisons are a place of crime not rehabilitation - Workman

By Ripeka Timutimu

A Māori academic is calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into New Zealand's criminal justice system. Kim Workman made his recommendations at an urgent hearing of the Waitangi Tribunal discussing Māori incarceration rates.

Kim Workman wants an overhaul of the criminal justice system.

“I called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the criminal justice system and more specifically suggested an inquiry into structural discrimination and racism in the system.”

The academic presented evidence today at the WAI 2540 hearing on the alleged failure by the Crown to address the escalating Māori prison population.

“The most important thing is that nobody wants to talk about the issues the government has kept silent on those issues since around 2005.”

Workman says the government should evaluate the current system, which hasn't been working for 30 years.

“We have to understand what the evidence tells us worldwide, that prisons are a place of crime not rehabilitation.”

The hearing continues this week.