Government announces summit to reform criminal justice, avoid slide into 'American-style' system

The Government has today announced what it describes as the first steps to reforming New Zealand's "broken" criminal justice system, scheduling a summit next month bringing victims of crime and justice experts together.

The Criminal Justice Summit, will be launched by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern from Parliament’s Banquet Hall on August 20, with it's remainder held at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said the summit is "about having the guts to look honestly at our slide towards an American-style justice system".

Manawatu Prison (file) Source: 1 NEWS

In attendance will be victims, victims' advocates, front-line workers, and experts in criminal justice.

Justice Minister Andrew Little.
Justice Minister Andrew Little. Source: 1 NEWS

"Real change means we have to do things differently. The Summit provides a start to honest conversations as a country, supported by real evidence," Mr Little said.

"The Summit will bring together victims, victims’ advocates, front-line workers with different backgrounds and experience in the criminal justice system, and experts in criminal justice."

Former minister Hon Chester Borrows will chair, working alongside independent victims' advocate Ruth Money, and Julia Whaipooti, Dr Warren Young, Professor Tony Ward, Professor Tracey McIntosh, Dr Carwyn Jones and Dr Jarrod Gilbert. 

Mr Little also said he will be establishing a specialist advisory group, the Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group, to outline "realistic scope" for criminal justice reform.