Maori get 'raw deal'
04 October 2004
Young Maori are getting a raw deal from the justice system, research shows.
A review of the effectiveness of the youth justice system shows Maori are dealt with more harshly than non-Maori.
Contrary to previous research, the report finds Maori are not more at risk of offending because of socio-economic factors. Rather, it suggests the public and police are "more vigilant" when it comes to Maori youths and they tend to be charged with less serious offences than non-Maori.
In some areas, Maori are more likely than non-Maori to be charged in the Youth Court despite committing the same offence.
Maori are more likely to get heavier penalties, as they are more likely to be dealt with in Youth Court. Penalties from family group conferences are less severe than those imposed in the Youth Court, irrespective of the seriousness of the offence, the research shows.
The researchers suggest police should be monitored to make sure they do not react differently to reports of offending by Maori.
"Any suggestion of differential responses is of considerable concern."