A Stuff Circuit investigation has delved into 10 years’ worth of data, examining arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing records and spoken to a broad range of people confronting the problem.
Problem? Undeniably, yes. There is no doubt that, from whichever angle you look at it, there is a serious skew in the system against Maori.
Even the Government acknowledges it. A senior official admitted to Stuff Circuit that unconscious bias in the justice system was a “live issue”.
Besides, the numbers are undeniable.
Maori make up the majority of prisoners. Think about that for a second because it’s a statistic which is thrown around so much so that sociologist Dr Tracey McIntosh of Auckland University says it’s “the most commonly-known social statistic”.
“It’s so common that people have normalised it, they think we’re talking about something that’s part of our natural environment,” she says, “rather than really recognising that it’s a part of our social environment, that it’s been made.
“And if it has been made, it can also be un-made