New Zealand: Second Highest in Mass Incarceration

Locked Up Warriors

Al Jazeera (2013)

Film Review

 

Locked Up Warriors is an Al Jazeera documentary about New Zealand’s mass incarceration of its indigenous people.

New Zealand is second only to the US in its rate of mass incarceration. Although New Zealand’s indigenous Māori make up only 15% of New Zealand, they represent half its prison population. This relates largely to political pressure for longer sentences – despite a host of studies showing long sentences significantly increase re-offending.

For me the most interesting section of the film concerns New Zealand’s gang culture and the longstanding rivalry between our two largest gangs – the Mongrel Mob and Black Power. It’s not uncommon for Māori offenders to be third generation gang members.