David Lammy MP last week published his final report into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals in the criminal justice system.
It contains 35 recommendations, including introducing assessments of a young offenders’ maturity, exploring how criminal records could be ‘sealed’, and allowing some prosecutions to be ‘deferred’. David Lammy also urges the justice system to take major steps to increase diversity and transparency.
The study found that BAME disproportionality in the criminal justice system costs the taxpayer at least £309 million each year, as well as a number of other concerning statistics. For example, the proportion of BAME young offenders in custody rose from 25% to 41% between 2006 and 2016, despite the overall number of young offenders falling to record lows.
Meanwhile, evidence shows the rate of Black defendants pleading not guilty in Crown Courts in England and Wales between 2006 and 2014 was 41%, compared to 31% of white defendants. This means they lose the possibility of reduced sentences and it raises questions about trust in the system.
The Lammy Review also revealed that the BAME proportion of young people offending for the first time rose from 11% in 2006 to 19% a decade later. There was an identical increase in the BAME proportion of young people reoffending over the same period.