Young Offenders: Minority Groups

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 29th October 2019.

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Photo of Yasmin Qureshi Yasmin Qureshi Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much funding has been spent on projects aimed at (a) improving data on racial disparities within the justice system, (b) improving judicial diversity, (c) conducting academic research on methods for reducing racial disparities and (d) reducing racial disparities in the youth justice estate, in each year since the publication of the Lammy Review in September 2017.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Efforts to better understand and tackle racial disparity in the Criminal Justice system are typically resourced as part of the mainstream responsibilities for Ministry of Justice and partner organisations, without dedicated budget(s). As such we have not been able to isolate the spend requested. Some additional commentary follows.

On a) per Government’s response to David Lammy’s review of the treatment of BAME people in the CJS, we remain committed to publishing more and better data to inform us on issues of racial disparity in the criminal justice system.

On b) Ministry of Justice is funding a three year programme, the Pre-Application Judicial Education programme, to support improving judicial diversity at a cost of £300,000 over financial years 2018/19 to 2020/21. The Judicial Appointments Commission also lead on initiatives to support diversity in the judiciary including outreach events.

On c) as a matter of course our work on tackling racial disparities engages with academics and their research.

On d) we have taken a range of steps to integrate activity to reduce racial disparities within the youth custodial estate in to the work of establishments and to drive improvements. This includes having dedicated equalities staff in Youth Offender Institutions and Secure Training Centres. We also have specific members of staff based at head-quarters, both within the Ministry of Justice and the Youth Custody Service, who consider the needs of BAME children, develop and implement improvement initiatives and feed into wider policy and delivery work. Examples include, the appointment of a Senior Policy Advisor: BAME Development lead to help address Recommendations 28 and 29 of the Lammy Review, on the recruitment of BAME staff; the YCS mandating the take-up of unconscious bias training for senior managers across public sector establishments, the commissioning and introduction of ‘debiasing training’ for key staff; and the inclusion of a problem-solving approach to complaints (Lammy Review Recommendation 27) in the new Youth Custody Service framework for behaviour support.

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