A group that wants prisons abolished has claimed new figures prove the law discriminates against the poor, making them more likely to end up in prison.
No Pride in Prisons obtained documents under the Official Information Act showing 87 percent of prisoners were jobless or in very low-paid work in the month before they were jailed.
Spokeswoman Emilie Rakete says this makes it difficult for people to get back into a job once they've gotten out of prison - and New Zealand's legal framework only makes it worse.
"The number one most important contributor to this [issue] would be the fact that it's legal under the Bill of Rights Act to discriminate against people based on their criminal record," she said.
She says prisons exist because the Government protects the privilege of the elite at the expense of others.
"[Prisons are] a warehouse for the poor where working class people and people who have been ground down into poverty by decades of economic violence are thrown and left."
Ms Rakete says the only way to fix the problem is to "destroy" policies that target financial discrimination.