Ethnic minorities 'face bias' in UK judicial system


People from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are discriminated against by the British justice system, a new review suggested Friday.

Opposition lawmaker David Lammy, who headed the research, said young offenders from ethnic minority backgrounds will become "the next generation" of adult criminals if the justice system fail to reform itself.

"My review clearly shows BAME individuals still face bias -- including overt discrimination -- in parts of the justice system," Lammy said.

The review said people from BAME backgrounds make up 25 percent of the prison population in England and Wales and 41 percent of the youth justice system, despite these groups being only 14 percent of the general population.

"It is only through delivering fairness, rebuilding trust, and sharing responsibility that we will build the equal and just society so often spoken about," Lammy said.

In January 2016, former Prime Minister David Cameron asked Lammy to lead a review of the criminal justice System in England and Wales, to investigate evidence of possible bias against black defendants and other ethnic minorities.

"If you're black, you're treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you're white," Cameron's successor, Theresa May, said later.

According to statistics in Lammy's review, BAME first-time offenders have increased in number to 19 percent -- up from 11 percent -- in the past 10 years.

Lammy is the Labour MP for Tottenham, north London, and has served as chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community since 2010.

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