A report, ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Disproportionality in the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales’, commissioned by the government, reports black people are known to be almost four times more likely to be in prison than white people and reveals racial disparities at many stages of arrest, charging, prosecution and imprisonment.
In general, black men were more than three times more likely to be arrested than white men.
Black individuals account for about 3% of the total population of England and Wales yet make up about 9% of defendants prosecuted for indictable offences at crown court.
Disproportional outcomes were particularly noticeable in certain categories of offences. For every 100 white women handed custodial sentences at crown courts for drug offences, the report found, 227 black women were sentenced to custody. For black men, the 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. Men from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds were more than 16% more likely than white men to be remanded in custody, the study’s statistical analysis revealed. Of those convicted at magistrates courts for sexual offences, 208 black men and 193 Asian men received prison sentences for every 100 white men.
41% of youth prisoners are from ethnic minority backgrounds, compared with 25% 10 years ago.
David Isaac, the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who also sits on the panel, said: “I’m worried. It confirms some of the observations that our own research produced. “Black people are more likely to be the victims of crime yet are treated more harshly in the criminal justice system. This confirms that trend does not just exist but it is more acute than we realised."