Hundreds of people gathered for the government's Criminal Justice Summit today, looking for alternatives to the current legal system.
The Criminal Justice Summit is intended to bring together victims of crime and justice experts and to look at the reform of the justice sector.
The high number of Māori is a major focus of the summit, with high-level ministers failing from previous governments who would have opted for a lock-up approach.
Māori law academic Moana Jackson argued & # 39; bold & # 39; policy change, including looking beyond the prison wire, and instead to the rehabilitation of prisoners.
"I think there is fear of change in the criminal justice system," Dr. Jackson 1 NEWS.
He said there was a "disjunct" between lowering crime and increasing detention.
"I think one of the most disturbing aspects of what happens to the prison population is the high degree of imprisonment of Māori women.
He said that Māori women are among the most trapped in the world. "I think that's a shame, we have to think seriously about how we can fix it."
"We took that 10-year-old boy, frightened and confused … we threw him into the system and it spit out a broken young man with nowhere to turn a gang life," Davis said.
National Justice spokesman Mark Mitchell said his concern was that the summit could become a "talk-fest".
"It's important that people have the opportunity to say how they feel and contribute, but such a format is not the place to do it."
He said that National will work with the government, "if the government can establish some clear benefits and good policies".
"If we can make a much earlier intervention in the lives of people … let the government join in earlier … to give these children a real chance."
"It is too late, after they have entered the criminal justice system, much damage has already been done."
He said that National had chosen a "strong, holistic approach to ensure that we have very strong laws" along with a rehabilitation program & # 39; s.