We deserve a better justice system.

Our Government owes us true justice. It owes us a system which addresses the underlying causes of crime, steps in early, and keeps us safe.

We deserve a system which treats us all with humanity, dignity and compassion.

We deserve care, not cages.

Why it matters

Right now, too many people from under-resourced communities are put on a one-way path to prison. This is because successive governments have chosen to take a tough on crime policy approach.

The justice system is a maze with no exits. It traps people in cycles of offending as it intensifies poverty, alienation and trauma.

Politicians’ tough on crime policies have resulted in a failing justice system. It’s failing to prevent harm and reoffending. It’s failing to help people who have been harmed. It’s also succeeding at targeting Māori with over-policing and mass incarceration. Our justice system only succeeds in being a tool of racism and colonisation.

Ultimately, the tough on crime approach is failing all of us. We need a better approach.

An illustration of a stylized maze. Trapped within it, two people attempt to find a way out.

Finding a way out

The government needs to build pathways out of the maze, and Turuki! Turuki! provides the blueprint.

This report was produced by Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora – The Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group, after hearing from communities across Aotearoa.

It makes 12 recommendations to build a justice system that prioritises the wellbeing of our communities and addresses social harm through prevention, restoration, and rehabilitation.

However, instead of making these changes, our Government has chosen to continue with tough on crime approaches that we know are a dead end.

An endless plane of locked boxes. In the foreground, one box is unlocked and open. Within it, seedlings sprout from fertile soil

It’s time to build a system that works.

Let’s leave ‘tough on crime’ approaches in the dustbin of history and build a transformative justice system that works.

Care Not Cages calls on the government to take immediate steps to implement the recommendations Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora made in Turuki! Turuki!

Join us and help ensure justice in Aotearoa for all.