“We welcome the findings and recommendations from The Lammy Review, published today, into the treatment of and outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals in the criminal justice system. There are simply too many people from BAME communities in the criminal justice system and the proven negative bias cannot continue.
“We support the review’s call to reform the criminal records system, not only making sure that criminal record checks are not made inappropriately but also looking again at the complex system of disclosure. More than 11 million people in the UK have a criminal record and, through Nacro’s work, we know that many face significant barriers into employment. This can have a devastating impact on young people from BAME communities who are trying to secure jobs and move on in their lives. It is time for the fundamental review of the system that Nacro has been calling for.
“Although the number of children and young people in custody has reduced significantly over recent years, the review rightly points out that the proportion who are BAME has risen from 25% to 41% in the decade 2006–2016. Our Beyond Youth Custody programme found that BAME young people face particularly high levels of victimisation and exposure to crime, and that prejudice and discrimination harm BAME young people’s self-identity. Therefore, effective resettlement and rehabilitation must be culturally responsive and help to develop positive identity and self-belief.
“We fully support the recommendation to improve the identification and treatment of prisoners’ mental health needs. These tools need to be comprehensive, able pick up often complex, hidden problems and be available as early as possible. And, crucially, getting in earlier to divert people with mental health problems away from prison through liaison and diversion services must be a priority.
“The findings and recommendations of this review must now lead to concrete actions to tackle the persistent disproportionality and bias faced by people from BAME communities.”