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Racial disproportionality in Youth Justice System claimed to be on a par with US

Former shadow justice secretary warns that racial disproportionality in the England & Wales Youth Justice System is ‘as bad as in America’.

The claim came from Richard Burgon, Labour MP for Leeds West who held the position of shadow justice secretary from 2016 to earlier this year, during a meeting of the House of Commons Justice committee.

Stating that more needs to be done throughout the system to address poor perceptions of BAME youths, Burgon said “All too often a group of BAME youngsters are perceived as a gang and a group of white youngsters are perceived is a group of white youngsters even if they engage in anti-social behaviour.” He added more needs to be done throughout the system to address poor perceptions of BAME youths.”

Burgon highlighted the increase in of children in custody in England and Wales who were from a BAME background despite the publication of the Lammy report into the treatment of, and outcomes for BAME individuals in the criminal justice system. The percentage has risen from 40 per cent in 2016 to over 50 per cent in March 2020.

Also reporting to the Committee, Chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, highlighted anecdotal reports from BAME children in prisons and secure units who said they were “subject to worse treatment than white children”.

Recent government data shows that 44 per cent of black children in custody are classed as at a high or very high risk of serious harm compared with 24 per cent of white children.