BAME offenders: Bias ‘needs to be tackled’

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Media captionWatch: Are ethnic minorities treated fairly inside justice system?

Young offenders coming from ethnic minority backgrounds will become “the next generation” of adult criminals unless the justice system can be reformed, says MP David Lammy.

A review led by him found the system in England as well as also Wales can be biased as well as also discriminates in treatment of people coming from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The Labour MP has made 35 recommendations for change.

The government said of which will “look carefully” at the recommendations.

People coming from Black Asian as well as also Minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds make up 25% of the prison population as well as also 41% of the youth justice system, despite these groups being 14% of the general population.

The review, which covers England as well as also Wales, has highlighted various “concerning” statistics.

These include:

  • The proportion of BAME young offenders rose coming from 25% to 41% between 2006 as well as also 2016
  • The rate of black defendants pleading not guilty in Crown Courts in England as well as also Wales between 2006 as well as also 2014 was 41%, compared with 31% for white defendants
  • The BAME proportion of young people offending for the 1st time rose coming from 11% in 2006 to 19% a decade later
  • There was an identical increase inside BAME proportion of young people reoffending over the same period

Mr Lammy said: “My review clearly shows BAME individuals still face bias – including overt discrimination – in parts of the justice system.

“of which can be only through delivering fairness, rebuilding trust, as well as also sharing responsibility of which we will build the equal as well as also just society so often spoken about.”

The Labour MP wants to see sweeping reforms inside way offenders are dealt with as part of the criminal justice system.

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MP David Lammy has made 35 recommendations to reform the criminal justice system

Low-level offenders should be allowed to “defer” prosecution as well as also instead opt for for a rehabilitation programme before entering a plea, he recommended.

Those who successfully complete the scheme might see their criminal charges dropped, while those who did not might still face criminal proceedings.

The scheme has already been piloted inside West Midlands, with violent offenders 35% less likely to reoffend.

Mr Lammy said the proportion of BAME young offenders has “risen disturbingly” as well as also the criminal justice system appears to have “given up on parenting”.

The review argues of which an assessment of young offender’s maturity should inform sentencing decisions.

of which wants those with low levels to receive extended support until they are 21.

various other recommendations

  • Local justice panels to be set-up to allow local people which has a direct stake in a young offender’s life to contribute to the hearings
  • All sentencing remarks inside Crown Court to be published to make justice more transparent
  • Reformed offenders should be able to apply to board or judge have their criminal records “sealed” – which might mean they might not need to disclose their offence to a employer
  • The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should look at its approach to gang prosecutions as well as also review its role in protecting vulnerable children as well as also women who are often coerced into gang activity
  • The government should set a national target to achieve a representative judiciary as well as also magistracy by 2025

The report says some of the causes of the over-representation of BAME offenders lie “outside the criminal justice system”.

of which points out black children are more than twice as likely to grow up in a lone parent family, as well as also black as well as also mixed ethnic boys are more likely than white boys to be permanently excluded coming from school.

Mr Lammy said: “The criminal justice system has deep-seated issues to address, although there can be only so much of which can do.

“The factors behind BAME over-representation begin long before a guilty plea, court appearance, or prison sentence.”

Communities must take “greater responsibility” for the care as well as also development of people, he added.

‘Drive out discrimination’

The Equality as well as also Human Rights Commission has urged the government to put in place a comprehensive race strategy with targets to reduce the race inequality.

Labour shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said the report “shines a light on the discrimination of which has been prevalent in our criminal justice system for years”.

The recommendations can “play an important role” in eradicating discrimination as well as also the review offers the government an opportunity “to end This particular injustice”, he added.

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Media captionYouth Justice worker Noel Williams says prison officers need diversity training

Justice Secretary David Lidington said the government will “look very carefully” at the review’s findings as well as also recommendations before responding fully.

“We will always seek to drive out discrimination wherever of which exists,” he said.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said the CPS will consider the review’s recommendations.

“I am proud to lead an organisation of which works to ensure of which fairness as well as also justice are at the heart of our decision doing regardless of someone’s race or background,” she added.

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