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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Race and the criminal justice system

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Latest section 95 statistics from the Ministry of Justice show racial disparity throughout our justice system.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Justice published this year’s annual Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System, a requirement under Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991.

This publication compiles statistics from data sources across the Criminal Justice System (CJS), to provide a combined perspective on the typical experiences of different ethnic groups. The MoJ is keen to stress that no causative links can be drawn from these summary statistics. For the majority of the report no controls have been applied for other characteristics of ethnic groups (such as average income, geography, offence mix or offender history), so it is not possible to determine what proportion of differences identified in this report are directly attributable to ethnicity. This leads the MoJ to conclude:

“Differences observed may indicate areas worth further investigation, but should not be taken as evidence of bias or as direct effects of ethnicity.”

In general, minority ethnic groups appear to be over-represented at many stages throughout the CJS compared with the White ethnic group. The greatest disparity appears at the point of stop and search, arrests, custodial sentencing and prison population. Among minority ethnic groups, Black individuals were often the most over-represented. Outcomes for minority ethnic children are often more pronounced at various points of the CJS. Differences in outcomes between ethnic groups over time present a mixed picture, with disparity decreasing in some areas are and widening in others.

Rather than summarise the many findings in this document, I urge interested readers to study it in detail.

However, the MoJ must be commended for producing a detailed infographic summarising the main findings and I have reproduced this in full below.

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