Wednesday, August 24, 2022

MSM and poor reporting

 A TV1 news item says about the inquiry into abuse-in-care:

"A report from the Inquiry shows one in three young people placed in residential care by the state between 1950 and 1999 went on to serve a prison sentence. The research shows Māori were even more likely to end up in prison, with 42% serving a custodial sentence as an adult. For the general population during the same period less than one in 10 ended up in prison." (My emphasis)

I got stuck on the last part of that. 'Less than' is indeterminate but suggests not much less than. Which seems way too high. From the actual report:

"Although there are caveats and limitations to consider, the principal results are nevertheless clear. The incarceration rate of people who were in State residential care is high. It is much higher than that of a cohort matched in age, sex/gender, and ethnicity."

So the denominator was not the "general population". It was a matched cohort which by necessity would have been disproportionately Māori.

But the 'fact' will be repeated frequently - Heather du Plessis has just done so. And this evening's One News did the same.  I will wince every time.

Nevertheless, the data is valuable and proves NZ is no different from the countries highlighted in the 2018 report I wrote for Family First, Imprisonment and Family Structure, which stated in the Executive Summary:

"The strongest predictor for imprisonment is growing up in state care."