Maori crime rate down to early childhood maltreatment
Note that in the following story there is not a single mention of fathers. They step towards it by identifying the first 5 years of life as being very important. However they fail to identify all the key factors.
You will often read about “poverty” leading to crime. However this is not so. My parents were dirt poor when they were children.Â My father was malnourished they were so poor. They would never dream of doing anything criminal.Â Their fathers would have dealt with them if they did.
I put “poverty” in quotes because we are talking about 1st world poverty which is not poverty in the slightest.Â It just means they are poor compared to the rest of the society they live in.Â Sound research studies show that these negative outcomes are not linked to “poverty” as such. It is just that these poor families are much more likely to lack involved fathers and there is more likely to be a lower value placed on education.
What I do find interesting is the reference to a higher percentage of mothers with mental health problems. I haven’t read research about this factor before. I’d love to read the full research paper.
A forum at Parliament designed to look at the causes of crime has heard that the high Maori crime rate can be put down to the fact that Maori are over-exposed to risk factors that lead to crime.
While some may claim it is just another talkfest, many at the Drivers Of Crime forum today hope some of the ideas will help stop Maori ending up behind bars.
“I hope it is going to be a lot more than just a hui day and a talk day and see you later, we’ll get back to you after the next election,” said social worker Edge Te Whaiti.
Academic Richie Poulton says Maori are at greater risk of experiencing factors which lead to anti-social behaviour.
“I think there is enough evidence to suggest that they have exposure to a whole lot of risk factors that are higher than for Pakeha,” he said.
Those factors include poverty, childhood neglect and mothers with mental health problems.
Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples says Maori are 11 times more likely to be jailed than other ethnic groups.
“Maori are more likely to be apprehended, more likely to be placed before a court, more likely to be convicted and more likely to be incarcerated than any other people on the same charge,” he said.
The Greens are calling for a separate justice system for Maori. They say the system we have now is biased.
“A justice system could do a very good job for Maori victims and offenders in removing the bias from the system,” said Green MP Metira Turei.
National’s Justice Minister Simon Power was dismissive of the idea though.
“It’s an interesting issue, I wouldn’t subscribe to,” he said.
The Maori Party says it is already been working on alternative Maori solutions in the justice system.
“We have some restorative justice which began for Maori, now they deal with everybody and they are really brilliant. But, they are Maori solutions” said Dr Sharples.
Mr Poulton says if you really want to reduce crime in New Zealand society, early intervention, ideally in the first five years of life is key.