Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Sad! More than Half Of Boys In UK Young Offender Jails Are From Black Or Ethnic Minority Backgrounds

More than half of boys held in young offender institutions in 2017-18 were from a black or minority ethnic background (BME), a watchdog report has indicated.

The percentage of BME detainees was the highest recorded since HM Inspectorate of Prisons began carrying out the analysis in 2001.

The figure of 51 per cent was three percentage points up on the previous year's 48 per cent.

Only two years ago a landmark review by Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy raised concerns that the proportion of black, Asian and minority ethnic youth prisoners had increased despite an overall fall in under-18s in custody.

Commenting on the latest findings, Mr Lammy said: 'This is deeply alarming and now must be viewed as an urgent national crisis.

'We are not only failing to make progress to address these racial inequalities; things are getting significantly worse.

'From childhood right through to courts and adult prisons, our justice system entrenches and exacerbates the divides in our society.'

Researchers found the proportion of boys who identified as being from a black or minority ethnic background varied significantly from facility to facility.

At the Keppel Unit - Her Majesty's Young Offenders Institute (YOI) Wetherby, a male juvenile prison outside York - it was one-in-five (21 per cent).

At HMP Feltham, a male juvenile jail in Hounslow in west London, in was nearly three-quarters (71 per cent).

The figures are detailed in a study of perceptions of those between 12 and 18 who were held in YOIs or secure training centres (STCs) in England and Wales from April 2017 to March 2018.

The assessment, published today, covers the experiences of boys in five male YOIs, plus a specialist unit for boys; and children, including a small number of girls, held in three STCs.