2 May 2012

Plea for Maori to consider designing own justice system

7:07 pm on 2 May 2012

A rangatahi group dedicated to fixing problems in the justice system says rehabilitating Maori offenders could work better if tangata whenua create a system.

The organisation, Just Speak, is part of the campaign group Rethinking Crime and Punishment, and it launched a position paper on Maori and Justice in Wellington on Tuesday.

Just Speak hopes the release of its position paper will prompt politicians to take a fresh look at problems in the justice system.

A member of Just Speak, Tai Ahu, says he's keen for the group to investigate the concept of how tangata whenua can help rehabilitate Maori offenders.

He says there shouldn't be any reason for people to be afraid of the idea for Maori to have control and governance over the issues that relate to their community.

Mr Ahu believes the concept could take the form of the Government contracting out to Maori communities, which would give them greater say.

He plans to raise the idea with his peers in Just Speak.

The initiative is supported by Rethinking Crime and Punishment director Kim Workman.

He says by and large, Maori don't change their lives as individuals but instead they make a transformation in their behaviour because of their whanau.

Mr Workman says why not create some kind of mechanism, which means Maori can help offenders' rehabilitation.