New statistics published Monday by Transform Justice and the Howard League for Penal Reform show that 87 percent of children held in remand between July and September in London come from Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Additionally, 61 percent of the children held were of Black ethnicity.
The Lammy Review had previously outlined the existence of racial prejudice in the UK criminal justice system. Arrests play an important role in the criminal justice process. The report indicated that people from minority ethnic groups were more likely to be arrested as compared to white people. This was linked to the widespread use of stop and search against minority ethnic groups and the diminished relationship between the police and community members. The report also highlighted that the bulk of prosecutions were of members of Black ethnic groups.
The number of youth offenders from BAME backgrounds was also recorded in the report to be higher than that of youth offenders from white ethnic backgrounds and was steadily incereasing. As the criminal justice system is linked to many other government institutions, distrust in one institution may ultimately lead to distrust in the entire system. The report therefore also recognized the neccessity to develop trust in the criminal justice system in order to insure the peoples confidence in the UK’s government as a whole. It also emphasized the need to reform the police force, the Crown Prosecution Service, the prison force, and to ensure fairness in courts.
Few of the report’s recommendations were implemented, with the majority being ignored. David Lammy has responded to the new statistics by stating:
The government’s failure to act on racial disproportionality across the justice system is resulting in unfair treatment for black, Asian and minority ethnic people. The government must now implement the Lammy Review recommendations it ignored and go further to ensure that all people regardless of their racial background are treated the same. The justice system must be fair for everyone.
Currently, Black children form 33 percent of all children on remand in England and Wales. Overall, there was a 57 percent increase in the number of BAME children in remand as compared to 54 percent in the previous year.
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