The Committee further recommends the State party to implement the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules) and provide alternatives to detention to reduce the high number of Māori women detainees.
Ministry of Justice:
Government has committed to reduce the prison population by 30 percent within the next 15 years. To prevent the numbers of women in detention growing, and to better support those that are in detention, the Government has introduced a gender- and culturally-responsive approach to managing women prisoners based on evidence of what works to reduce women’s re-offending. The rate of Māori women commencing a prison sentence decreased by 17% between 2016/17 and 2018/19 and the rate of Māori women commencing a community sentence decreased by 10%. However, during the same period the rate of Māori women placed in custodial remand increased by 31%. In 2018/19, Māori women were 12.7 times more likely to be placed on custodial remand than non-Māori women.
A short-term commitment of the Hōkai Rangi strategy is to undertake a piece of research and analysis looking at how Ara Poutama Aotearoa can actively work towards keeping rangatahi (youth) and wāhine (especially wāhine with primary care of children) out of prison. Ara Poutama Aotearoa are partnering with Māori to deliver support services for wāhine Māori in the community. In the Hawke’s Bay Ara Poutama Aotearoa have partnered with Ngāti Kahungunu to develop and deliver Te Waireka. This is a residential wrap around support service for wāhine being sentenced to home detention or being released on parole or released on conditions. The Collins Road Resettlement Centre is being developed in partnership between Ara Poutama Aotearoa, the Kiingitanga and Housing New Zealand. The facility will provide accommodation and wrap around support services for up to 24 wāhine who have been released from a custodial sentence. The aim is to provide a safe environment for these wāhine while they re-establish their lives and reconnect with their children. He Kete Oranga o te Mana Wāhine is an Ara Poutama Aotearoa 10-bed residence in Christchurch which provides a therapeutic programme for wāhine in the justice system with alcohol and other drug needs. The house can be put forward as an accommodation option for wāhine applying for bail or parole, with engagement with whānau being central to the programme.
Corrections: All data collected by Ara Poutama Aotearoa can be disaggregated by gender and ethnicity. Moving forwards, under the recently created role and appointment of a Deputy Chief Executive Māori and the new Ara Poutama Aotearoa strategy Hōkai Rangi, we will be exploring ways of effectively measuring data and outcomes for wāhine Māori.
- Ministry of Justice