Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mike Butler: Blaming racism for incarceration

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell is still alleging police, courts, and Corrections racism for the high rate of incarceration of Maori and has got a visiting United Nations delegation to go along with his story. Flavell raised the issue about a year ago when told parliament that “for the 3495 theft apprehensions recorded as Caucasian there were 588 prosecutions; and for Maori, for the 5660 apprehensions recorded, 1173 resulted in prosecution—in other words, prosecution rates of 16.8 percent versus 20.7 percent”.

Flavell went on to claim that “if a Maori teen and a pakeha teen are apprehended for the same crime, the young Maori is more likely to be prosecuted while the Pakeha youth is more likely to get off. Does this not raise questions of fairness and of discrimination in those people who would be sceptical of institutional racism?”

But Flavell did not consider that if 5660 thefts by Maori were recorded, compared with 3495 non-Maori, not only were there more thefts by Maori, but there were proportionally many more since Maori only make up 16 percent of the population.

Flavell’s figures do show that Maori had a higher prosecution race for thefts, although the 3.9 percent margin is slender.

While Flavell and the UN delegation may want people to believe that numerous Maori are in jail because of racist police, judges, and prison officers, they still have to explain the much higher rate of apprehensions of Maori for theft, bearing in mind that for an offender to be sent to court there has to be sufficient evidence.

Flavell’s source of information was JustSpeak, a group that describes itself as non-partisan youth network seeking change in New Zealand’s criminal justice system. The data, that came from police statistics for 2011, looks at prosecution vs total apprehension numbers for 10- to 16-year-olds.

Since thefts are just one category of criminal offences, here are the figures for 15 categories of criminal offences in the JustSpeak stats:

Except for offences against justice procedures, in which many more Caucasians (44 percent) were prosecuted than Maori (15.3 percent), and except for the three homicides by youth in that year in which no Caucasians were prosecuted for the one homicide and two Maori were prosecuted for the two homicides, and apart from dangerous or negligent acts, there is a slightly higher prosecution rate for Maori, that being an average of 6.53 percent.

But the total number of offences by young Maori in that year was 18,003 and for Caucasian 11,686 – which means there are still many more and proportionally many more by Maori since, as already mentioned, Maori only make up 16 percent of the population.

Here is a question for Flavell and the UN delegation: How does alleging police, courts, and Corrections racism solve the high rate of offending by young Maori?


Anonymous said...

The UN spokesman said it was against international law to lock up disproportionate numbers of Maori.

Listening to him speak was like listening to a Monty Python parody, but unfortunately he was deadly serious, and we should all be afraid.
These people are running the world now.

Stuart L

jh said...

This round began with a UN delegation.
The idea of the UN as part of our democracy is weird. For one thing they represent populations of people who may be antagonistic and for another they tend (as far as I can see) to be elitist and left-wing. Yet they are often spoken of as though they outrank our own government.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see in each of these groups how many are re-offenders as re-offenders are more likely to be convicted and first time offerders let off. Is the maori re-offending rate higher which would in part explain the higher conviction rate.

jh said...

I think we miss something when we discuss issues such as this and that is a paradigm (emanating from sociology) relating to Critical Race Theory, Critical White Studies and White Privilege.
Have you dipped into those Mike Butler?

Anonymous said...

If its got something to do with white priviilege the numbers still far outweigh it.Do you think maybe it has to do with the culture ,in that,how long until the cycle is broken.Does it continue forever because of disenfranchisement or do we keep giving more of a leg up for Maori so they can continue to believe they have the excuse of having once been an oppressed people.

Barry said...

If Flavell really cares he should tell part-maoris to stop committing crimes.

Unknown said...

Why should we give a dam about what the UN says. When they let Israel ignore UN resolutions for over 60 years on much more serious issues of genocide against the Palastinians surely we can point to that and say, "when you make them comply come talk to us again". Maybe get their delegation to look up hypocrisy in a dictionary and then shut up and let us get on with our own issues. Well put again Mike. Keep it up reminding people of the meaning of hypocrisy.

Mark Roden said...

As there are more men in jail than women, should we assume that the system is also sexist?

Tony R said...

Mr Flavell - when will Maori stop 'woe is me' 'beating their chest and crying' 'flagellating themselves ?? How long does this go on - ?
Proportionally maori commit far more crimes - yet get far more hand-outs - freebies, etc etc etc
Had enough - maori need to stand on their own 2 feet now and be part of NEW ZEALAND - not separatists.....!

Dave said...

There is an old saying 'commit the crime, do the time' unfortunately when we see reports of muggings, rape, robbery and murder, all to often the face caught in the security camera footage or from the Police mug shot is Maori or part Maori. Flavell would most likely say that's us evil white colonials fault or its because Maori are disadvantaged. Really! Nobody forces a person to drink take drugs or commit crimes. Its time Flavell, Hone and the other wingers started preaching self responsibility instead of playing the race card and constant victim mentality.

Anonymous said...

Police ten7 or "The Maori news" The whole country knows it as either because Moari have the starring roles. Stop making excuses for them

Anonymous said...

Talking about lies and statistics, is it possible that a large number of these incarcerated "Maori" are predominantly Caucasian anyway?

Auntie Podes said...

UN is a virtual socialist monopoly. Their delegates invariably to come from obscure leftist countries who have a disgraceful absence of human rights and they'd be far better getting their own houses in order before trying to criticise more civilised nations such as ours.