Urgent efforts to understand justice system

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BY GEORGE BLOCK

Timaru lawyer Quentin Hix was part of a criminal justice group that visited Dunedin on Monday last week for a drop-in session to hear from people who had first-hand experience of the system.

Members of the Government’s Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group were gathering information on the criminal justice system from those who had experienced it first-hand.

This included offenders, victims, and those who worked within the system each day.

The 10-strong group is chaired by former courts minister Chester Borrows.

Accompanying Mr Hix were victim advocate Ruth Money, of Auckland, and University of Canterbury sociologist Jarrod Gilbert.

Mr Hix said he was pleased with the response at the drop-in session at the Dunedin Public Library.

The group travelled on for sessions in Invercargill on Tuesday and Queenstown yesterday.

Mr Hix, who is also a director of Ngai Tahu Holdings, said New Zealand’s high rates of incarceration and recidivism made the group’s work urgent.

“We really want to hear everyone’s ideas.

“The interesting thing I’m finding going around the regions, is you find these nuggets of wisdom, these local ideas you haven’t heard before, and that’s really what we want to hear more of.”