Emerging from a colonialist and punitive era? A story of prison abolition in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Authored by: John W. Buttle

The Routledge International Handbook of Penal Abolition

Print publication date:  March  2021
Online publication date:  March  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138354098
eBook ISBN: 9780429425035
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter tells the story of prison abolition in New Zealand (Aotearoa) and considers whether the country is emerging from a dark punitive era. This is done first by setting the scene in regard to penal populism and its influence on high numbers of incarcerated people, especially those of Maori and Pacific decent. Then, the chapter moves on to provide a historical overview of abolitionist perspectives that have influenced today’s activists. This will include extensive consideration of Moana Jackson’s work as well as that of People Against Prison Aotearoa (PAPA) and JustSpeak. Finally, consideration is given to the possibility of abolitionists’ goals flourishing in the recent move towards reform in Aotearoa.

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