Ferris - Three Strikes targets those ‘too brown to be white’

The government's decision to reintroduce Three Strikes is a destructive and ineffective piece of law-making that will only exacerbate an inherently biased and racist criminal justice system, said Te Pāti Māori Justice Spokesperson, Tākuta Ferris, today.

During the time Three Strikes was in place in Aotearoa, Māori and Pasifika received over 50% of the strikes, and 63% of those with a second strike were Māori.

Ministry of Justice briefs established that there was no evidence of this policy reducing crime, or having any obvious effect on crime rates at all.

“We know unequivocally that being harder on crime equates to being harder on Māori and those too brown to be white. These numbers demonstrate it,” said Ferris.

"Modelled on US law that disproportionately targeted African Americans, Three Strikes has unjustly perpetuated racism and ensnared Māori with no evidence of reducing crime.

"We only have to look at 2022 research out of California1 showing that Three Strikes has no measurable deterrent effect, that it locks up African Americans, and that it does not address crime.

"This reckless law-making will result in unjust sentences and accelerate mass incarceration of Māori and Pasifika. It lacks evidence and is full of racial bias,” said Ferris.

“Intelligent policy and rehabilitation, not punitive measures, are essential for a just society. This is not intelligent; it’s grandstanding for political perception.

“The only time Māori receive special treatment is when we are dealing with the criminal justice system. It has profiled and targeted tangata whenua for as long as it has existed in this country.

“The reintroduction of Three Strikes is to maintain this status quo,” concluded Ferris.