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Criminal Justice

The Young Review says leadership is needed to tackle the number of young black and Muslim men sent to prison

A new report on the over-representation of young black and/or Muslim men in the criminal justice system says that critically high numbers have been reached.  The Young Review, led by Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey, found that despite knowledge and understanding of this problem at the highest level, there has not to date been sufficient leadership or concerted effort to address this over-representation.  The report found that black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) offenders are more likely to serve a prison sentence and receive harsher treatment in  prison than their white counterparts.  It argued that if the Government is truly committed to reducing reoffending, making communities safer and reducing victims of crime, then the disproportionate outcomes experienced by young black and/or Muslim male prisoner and offenders in the community must be tackled.

 

The review highlights the specific experiences and needs of young black and/or Muslim men in the criminal justice system, whose lives are often characterised by a complex mix of educational, employment, health and social inequalities. It sets out a series of recommendations that aim to ensure that action takes place – in what will soon be a newly-configured Criminal Justice System under the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms – to address unequal outcomes from prison to resettlement.

 

The Young Review recommends that mechanisms must be developed to incentivise criminal justice agencies and the new providers of probation services to meet the specific needs of these young men. The outcomes achieved by these providers must be rigorously monitored on how they tackle inequality- and not just reduce reoffending.

 

Representatives and organisations from BAME communities, working in partnership with the criminal justice system, were found to improve prisoners’ perceptions of and relationships with institutions. The review calls for an emphasis on dedicated resources for community engagement. Organisations and individuals including offenders and ex-offenders themselves, with an understanding of the lived experience of this group, should also play an integral role in the planning and delivery of services.

 

Read a copy of the report here