In 2006 the Department of Corrections was directed by the Government to investigate the use of Home Detention with respect to differences in the rate at which it was applied to Maori and Pacific peoples. This paper reports on the resulting study, which used data from Home Detention cases in 2005. It examines ethnicity-based differences in offenders obtaining Leave to Apply for Home Detention, offenders’ subsequent applications, the approval of such applications by the Parole Board and, finally, the extent to which orders were breached.
From initial review of the raw data, Maori appear disadvantaged, relative to New Zealand Europeans, with respect to Home Detention decisions. Maori are less likely to obtain Leave to Apply and, amongst those who do, are less likely to be granted approval. Disparities of this scale were not apparent for Pacific offenders. This report largely deals with exploring possible reasons for the observed differences between Maori and New Zealand European offenders. Data were analysed with reference to a number of potential explanatory factors.