(Open Letter to the Secretary for Justice -- slightly edited)
Dear Belinda Clark,
I refer to the Ministry of Justice "Research" Report: Identifying and Responding to Bias in the Criminal Justice System: A Review of International and New Zealand Research, by Bronwyn Morrison. I put the word "research" into quotation marks, because it is clearly politically-driven, and is not "research" in the sense of an open-minded inquiry.
This Report ignores entirely the issue of bias against people on the basis of sex/gender, and just plunges straight into the process of discussing bias against ethnic-minority people, as if that was the only possible and conceivable form of bias on the face of the Earth. Given that the Ministry of Justice is female-dominated, and clearly (in my experience over the years) driven by a Feminist ideology, a naive observer would rightly be thunderstruck at this glaring omission.
The answer to this riddle lies in one of the items listed in the Report's Bibliography: Triggs, S. (1999) Sentencing in New Zealand: A statistical analysis. In the Executive Summary, Triggs states:
The results of the multivariate modelling indicate that females are more likely than males to receive community service, supervision, community programme or no sentence. On the other hand, females are less likely to receive a prison sentence, periodic detention or a monetary penalty. Gender is one of the most significant variables influencing the probability of receiving a monetary penalty or a community service sentence.
In the body of the work, Triggs states:
Gender 'is not in and of itself a justification for discriminating between offenders' (Hall 1998, page B173-4). Yet, the results of the multivariate modelling show that females are more likely than males to receive community service, community programme or no sentence and less likely to receive a prison sentence, periodic detention or a monetary penalty. Thus, gender differences in sentencing persist even after taking account of differences in the type and seriousness of the offence committed (e.g. the average seriousness of offences committed by women is lower than for men) and in the extent of previous offending (e.g. women have fewer previous convictions on average; section 3.1). Indeed, gender is the amongst the most significant variables influencing the probability of receiving a community service sentence or a monetary penalty.
Triggs does not give a definite reason for this discrimination, and does not even raise the possibility of bias. This is not surprising, since the Public Service lives and breathes Feminism, according to which ideology gender discrimination only exists against women.
So I am led to ask again why Morrison did not recall this aspect of Triggs' findings and discuss gender bias in the criminal justice system – at least in the introduction. However, that is only a rhetorical question, since we both know what the answer is: as I have already stated, the Ministry of Justice is female-dominated, the Public Service lives and breathes Feminism, and Morrison's report is clearly politically-driven, and is not "research" in the sense of an open-minded inquiry.
So I am writing to ask whether you consider that Morrison's Report breaches the following aspects of the State Services' Standards of Integrity & Conduct:
In my view, Morrison's Report clearly breaches all those aspects – as would you be doing, if you were not to take appropriate action in respect of those breaches.