Lessons in etiquette behind bars

Associate Corrections Minister Pita Sharples is pressing for the creation of Maori prisons “to help reduce the number of inmates who re-offend when released.”

This follows hard on the heels of the Government’s tabling of legislation paving the way for contracting out the management of prisons to the private sector.

Radio NZ reports:

Dr Sharples, who visited a Maori immersion unit at Rimutaka Prison on Tuesday, says re-offending by those who are involved in the units is lower than the rest of the prison population.

Dr Sharples wants to extend the concept to involve stand-alone prisons based on tikanga Maori, saying if Maori had more say in the rules of etiquette of the prison there would be more harmony among inmates.

Oh, great.

But first, Alf would like to see the statistics on re-offending before he gets too enthused.

Second, he is dismayed by yet another step towards separatism and wonders how locking up Maori with Maori in the slammer can fit them for living lawfully in a society which predominantly comprises non-Maori.

And third, he wonders if the etiquette Sharples is banging on about is the same etiquette our Prime Minister encountered when he was greeted at Waitangi by the less-than-charming Popata brothers. They were charged with assaulting him (so what sort of etiquette has that ramification?) but have the support and understanding of Sharples’ colleague, Hone Harawira, who apparently sanctions a bit of bother so long as it is administered with passion and sincerity to promote Maori interests.

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