Lammy Review: racial bias in the criminal justice system
In this blog, I noted (Feb 2016) the appointment of the MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, to lead a review of racial bias in the criminal justice system. He has now published his ’emerging findings’ in a letter he has sent to the Prime Minister. His final report is expected in 2017. The Press Release states:
The review commissioned an analysis paper looking at disproportionality in the criminal justice system. One finding was that for every 100 white women handed custodial sentences at Crown Courts for drug offences, 227 black women were sentenced to custody. For black men, this figure is 141 for every 100 white men.
Among all those found guilty at Crown Court in 2014, 112 black men were sentenced to custody for every 100 white men .
The disproportionality analysis also found that, among those found guilty, a greater proportion of black women were sentenced to custody at Crown Court than white women.
Other notable findings highlighted today from the disproportionality analysis and the wider Lammy review include:
Of those convicted at Magistrates’ Court for sexual offences, 208 black men and 193 Asian men received custodial sentences for every 100 white men.
BAME defendants are more likely than their white counterparts to be tried at Crown Court – with young black men around 56% more likely than their white counterparts;
BAME men were more than 16% more likely than white men to be remanded in custody;
BAME men were 52% percent more likely than white men to plead ‘not guilty’ at crown court;
In prisons, BAME males are almost five times more likely to be housed in high security for public order offences than white men, and
Mixed ethnic men and women were more likely than white men and women to have adjudications for breaching prison discipline brought against them – but less likely to have those adjudications proven when reviewed.
51% of the UK-born BAME population agree that ‘the criminal justice system discriminates against particular groups’, compared to 35% of the UK-born white population;
41% of youth prisoners are from minorities backgrounds, compared with 25% ten years ago, despite prisoner numbers falling by some 66% in that time;
The number of Muslim prisoners has almost doubled in the last decade.
The next stage for the review will be to examine the reasons for these figures and to explore whether they reveal bias in the system against those from BAME groups.
It has also been announced that Lammy will – as part of this exercise – take a closer look at diversity in the judiciary and the numbers of judges from BAME groups.
The details of the emerging findings are at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lammy-review-emerging-findings-published