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The Care to Custody: Incarceration Rates Research Report is the first of its kind to analyse the interagency records of more than 30,000 children and young people spanning five decades.

It shows that between 1950-1999, one out of every three children and young people placed in residential care by the State went on to serve a prison sentence later in life. For Māori children and young people who had been in State residential care over that time, up to 42 per cent went on to receive a prison sentence later in life.  

In comparison, across the same time period, no more than 8 per cent of the general population of similar demographics ended up in prison.

The Care to Custody: Incarceration Rates Research Report matched Oranga Tamariki records of more than 30,000 children and young people that had been placed in State residential care between 1950 and 1999 with records held by the Ministry of Health, Statistics NZ, the Department of Corrections and Ministry of Justice to identify how many of these people had then gone on to serve a judicial custodial sentence. This data was then compared to similar demographics in the general population.

As with many historical records, there are limitations to the data that has been supplied by the agencies. Highlighting the experiences of disabled survivors is an important part of this Inquiry’s work. Unfortunately, it was not possible to analyse disability in this research.  Over the time period examined, disability information was either not available or tended to be recorded poorly or ambiguously. Reporting on other ethnicities has not been included due to insufficient numbers. We intend to present data for each ethnicity as part of the technical report, currently being finalised.  

Irrespective of these limitations, the research shows that people who spent time in State residential care were more likely to end up in prison.

This report will help inform the Royal Commission’s recommendations to the Government when the final report is presented to the Governor-General in June 2023.

The research was conducted by Synergia, an Australasian analytics, consulting and evaluation group.

Care to Custody Incarceration Rates Research Report

PDF, 2.8 MB