Prisoners: Ethnic Groups

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 8th September 2021.

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Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent estimate he has made of the number of children in prison from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Monthly statistics on the population of children and young people within secure children’s homes (SCHs), secure training centres (STCs) and young offender institutions (YOIs) can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/youth-custody-data .The publication contains detailed information on the make-up of the custody population, including ethnicity.

The number of children and young people in custody has decreased considerably over the past ten years across all ethnic minority groups, however we recognise that this decrease has not fallen evenly for children of different ethnicities which is a matter of concern.

Addressing race disparities is extremely important to the Ministry of Justice and we continue to prioritise this work, examining and acting on the issues highlighted in several reviews, recent independent inspections, and collecting and interrogating data in the spirit of “explain or change”.

The MoJ and the Youth Justice Board work closely together in seeking to tackle racial disparities in the youth justice system, including custody. Work in this area includes providing the tools and data to help frontline youth justice services to understand the needs of ethnic minority children, work with the Magistrates’ Association to build awareness of disparity among sentencers, securing over £1m in funding to use physical activity to improve outcomes for 11,000 ethnic minority children at risk of entering the criminal justice system and improving Youth Custody Service workforce diversity.

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