Bailey Kurariki

The Herald reports that Bailey Kurariki has found God and Maori culture and has turned his life around in prison.

I sincerely hope so, but have a real dread that this is not the case. As the Herald reports:

This week, the Board said Bailey Kurariki was an articulate, intelligent and mature young man who was determined to turn his life around.

That was in stark contrast to its report last year, when it said he was at “high risk” of reoffending.

I get nervous at such dramatic changes which just happen to occur between hearings. But despite that I don’t think you can ignore the very strong advice of those who have been working to rehabilitate him:

But three years ago he began going to church and was baptised around May last year, which “has really helped him to mature”.

He was then transferred to the Maori focus unit in Hawkes Bay prison where he took an interest in kapa haka and tikanga Maori, and older Maori men took him in hand “in a positive way”.

He learned skills in the forestry industry and over a period of about two years, Kurariki grew up.

“By the end of last year we were hearing from prison officers that they were extremely impressed with him, and they are not fooled easily.

“They observed him in unguarded as well as guarded moments. There’s a lot of support for Bailey – they’ve seen him change.”

Prison Fellowship director Kim Workman said Kurariki had been rated by the Department “at the lowest possible level of risk”.

“Those who are close to him in the prison, and those from outside the prison who have supported him, are unanimous in their view that he is very unlikely to reoffend on release.”

I think he should be given a second chance. But that second chance (which is denied his victim Michael Choy) should not become a third or a fourth chance if he does offend on parole.  He should be made very aware that his sentence is for life and is a privilege not a right.

I hope he takes advantage of this opportunity to live a worthwhile life.

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