The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime.
Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform from the Chief Victims Advisor. Both recommend a fresh approach to the way criminal justice has been approached.
“Today the government is announcing a new direction for criminal justice reform, with an immediate commitment to doing justice differently,” Andrew Little said.
“The old ways have failed us. They have resulted in too little rehabilitation and therefore more crime, while not doing enough to support victims.
“The reports released today are the product of some of the most extensive community engagement over our criminal justice system ever, and I thank Te Uepū and Dr Kim McGregor for their work in producing these reports. I also want to acknowledge the work put into Inaia Tonu Nei – Now is the Time, the Hui Māori report released in July this year.
“The Government is open to reaching across the aisle on tackling our failed criminal justice system and building a new consensus on how we approach this issue.
“We need to change the course of our criminal justice system to ensure less offending, less reoffending, and fewer victims of crime who are better supported. 30 years of locking more people up for longer has not changed re-offending rates nor made communities safer.”
As a first step to respond to the reports’ recommendations, the government has committed to:
- Ensuring the environment in which justice is administered is safe and effective for victims, offenders, and all participants – with a further announcement on this to be made in coming days
- Comprehensive system change over time that treats victims with respect and dignity, treats offenders more effectively in order to reduce offending, and makes the system more responsive to community expectations of accountability and harm prevention.
- Make the pilot Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) courts in Auckland and Waitakere permanent immediately, and to immediately fund a new AODT court in Hamilton because of the impact these courts have on reducing offending. Within two years, AODT Court participants are 23% less likely to reoffend for any offence, 35% less likely to reoffend for a serious offence, and 25% less likely to be imprisoned because of their reoffending.
- The rollout of other therapeutic and specialist courts over time
- Working with Māori on decision-making to improve outcomes across the justice system
“Transforming our criminal justice system will take time. We need to both address immediate issues with the current system and also deliver a long-term plan for changing the system.
“Measures like Corrections’ High Impact Innovation Programme are making significant inroads into New Zealand’s shamefully high incarceration rates, and implementing other programmes like Hokai Rangi in Corrections, Police’s Te Huringa o te Tai Māori Strategy and Oranga Tamariki’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy are examples of how we’re already delivering to support our communities’ need.
“But these reports make clear there is much more we can do to build a safer New Zealand. That work starts today,” Andrew Little says.