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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 135848 Find in a Library
Title: Citizenship, Colonisation and Criminal Justice
Journal: International Journal of the Sociology of Law  Volume:19  Issue:3  Dated:(August 1991)  Pages:293-319
Author(s): J Pratt
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 27
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The history of the legal system in colonial New Zealand in the 19th century focuses on the way in which the indigenous legal system operated by the Maori people came to be silenced and eliminated as a condition of being granted British citizenship and imperial protection.
Abstract: The Maori criminal justice system rested on the brief that socially harmful behavior, whether civil or criminal in Western terms, was caused by an imbalance to the social equilibrium. Thus, the purpose of the justice system was to restore the balance, usually by some form of restitution or victim compensation called utu or muru. This justice system contrasted sharply with the British model and was not recognized as a valid system by the colonial rulers. It was gradually silenced following New Zealand's annexation by Great Britain in 1984 and despite various treaties specifying the continuity of Maoridom. The processes of erasure and assimilation of the Maori culture and legal system continued during the 1970's and 1880's. Recognition is now growing that New Zealand's penal system is unsuccessful, and the Maori system could have made a significant contribution in solving some of the current problems. Despite its imperfections, the Maori system was one without imprisonment, run by community members, and responsive to the needs of victims. Notes and 14 references
Main Term(s): Minorities; Tribal court system
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Foreign criminal justice systems; History of criminal justice; New Zealand
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