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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Queensland University of Technology 2202-8005 The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy is an open access, blind peer-reviewed journal that publishes critical research about challenges confronting criminal justice systems around the world.  The Journal is committed to democratising quality knowledge production and dissemination. Authors retain copyright and articles are licenced via Creative Commons to make published articles more readily available and useable. There are no APCs (Article Processing Charges). Authors can submit and publish at no cost.
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 8 1

The Problems and Promise of International Rights in the Challenge to Māori Imprisonment


This article draws upon extensive primary research involving substantive documentary analysis of United Nations (UN) reports and New Zealand (NZ) debates over the last 20 years, and interviews with senior Māori professionals, to consider the role of international human rights standards and processes in the challenge to Māori imprisonment. It shows that over-representation is carefully managed by the NZ state in four ways: (i) a perpetual representation of Māori as the offenders; (ii) the selective endorsement of rights, such that discriminatory criminal justice operations are normalised; (iii) a pervasive human rights ritualism within UN reporting processes; and (iv) the legitimisation of imprisonment and inequalities through the international rights system. Notwithstanding these problems, Māori remain alive to the potential of challenging imprisonment through engagement with international rights frameworks. They indicate the need for a tripartite approach of reforms, decolonising acts and abolitionist strategies in doing so.

Pages:1 to 17
Section: Articles
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Author Biographies

Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand New Zealand

Elizabeth Stanley is a Professor at the Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research revolves around state crimes, human rights, social justice and incarceration. Her recent books include the edited collection ‘Human Rights and Incarceration’ (2018, Palgrave) and ‘The Road to Hell: State Violence against Children in Post-War New Zealand’ (2016, Auckland University Press).

Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand New Zealand

Riki (Ngāti Kahungunu) engaged ‘A kaupapa Maori analysis of the use of Maori culture identity in the prison system’ for his PhD-thesis at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). From 2016-2017, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow, on a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship project, at the Institute of Criminology, VUW.