Corrections and the Kiingitanga have signed an accord aimed at working together to improve outcomes for Māori offenders, Corrections Minister Louise Upston has announced.
The accord, signed at a ceremony today by Kiingi Tuheitia and Corrections chief executive Ray Smith, commits the Kiingitanga and Corrections to work together to share information and identify and develop initiatives around the cultural, social, physical and economic health and wellbeing of Māori offenders.
“Around half the prison population is Māori and it is important that Corrections keeps building on the initiatives is already has in place to improve outcomes for Māori offenders,” Ms Upston says.
“Reducing reoffending by Māori offenders is a high priority for Corrections. Research has proven that programmes, activities and therapy have the most impact when matched with a person’s cultural background.
“I applaud the Kiingitanga for stepping forward and recognising it has a role to play in working with Corrections to improve the wellbeing of Māori offenders. The accord is the result of dialogue between its leadership and Corrections over the last year about an ongoing relationship and initiatives that could be undertaken together to achieve this.”
The parties have identified the following as areas of mutual interest:The health and wellbeing of Māori offenders in custody The rehabilitation of Māori prisoners and offenders The reintegration of Māori prisoners into the community Reducing reoffending by Māori.
“Corrections already has a number of initiatives in place aimed at reducing reoffending among Māori, from recruitment and staff training, to its programmes and facilities,” Ms Upston says.
Around 300 places in prison are set aside for Te Tirohanga, a Māori tikanga-based therapeutic community environment running out of whare in five prisons.
Corrections has also established a Māori Advisory Board with representatives from seven iwi organisations to provide advice and input on policy development and the design of services aimed at reducing reoffending by Māori.