Scan­dal of big­otry in prison sys­tem

Cynon Valley - - YOUR VIEWS -

AMID the con­fus­ing ca­coph­ony of nev­erend­ing news and opin­ion con­cern­ing Brexit, you might have missed the pub­li­ca­tion of a damn­ing re­port ex­pos­ing the ma­lig­nant rot of deeply em­bed­ded racist big­otry within Bri­tain’s jus­tice sys­tem.

An in­de­pen­dent re­view or­dered by David Cameron to ex­am­ine the treat­ment and out­comes of black and mi­nor­ity eth­nic peo­ple in the jus­tice sys­tem, chaired by David Lammy MP, has un­earthed an in­equitable scan­dal of over­rep­re­sen­ta­tion within the prison pop­u­la­tion of Eng­land and Wales.

The re­view noted that black and mi­nor­ity eth­nic (BAME) men and women make up just 14% of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, and yet con­sti­tute one in four pris­on­ers – a more dis­pro­por­tion­ate statis­tic than even the United States.

It also says BAME youth make up more than 40% of young peo­ple in cus­tody.

Black boys are ten times more likely to be ar­rested for drug of­fences than white boys, even when prior char­ac­ter is taken into ac­count; the to­tal eco­nomic cost of over-rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the jus­tice sys­tem is es­ti­mated to ex­ceed £309m per an­num.

If our prison pop­u­la­tion rep­re­sented the ac­tual de­mog­ra­phy of Eng­land and Wales, it would trans­late into 9,000 fewer pris­on­ers.

Mr Lammy’s rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude a “race-blind” ap­proach to pro­cess­ing cases (al­beit with scant sub­stan­tive de­tail), re­view­ing gang-re­lated prose­cu­tions, a “rate-your-judge” sys­tem (again lack­ing ex­plicit de­tail), seal­ing crim­i­nal records, “pos­i­tive dis­crim­i­na­tion” in prison and ju­di­ciary re­cruit­ment.

None of these ideas would pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment to the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion; the root cause of in­sti­tu­tional racism is cap­i­tal­ist hege­mony, the very same cor­rupt sys­tem which was bailed out by tax­pay­ers and is now foist­ing the re­pel­lent swin­dle of aus­ter­ity mea­sures upon or­di­nary peo­ple to pay for the ob­scene ex­cesses of su­per-rich bosses.

A united front of or­gan­ised re­sis­tance will send these jack­als a mes­sage that we won’t silently tol­er­ate such ob­scene in­jus­tice any longer. Daniel Pitt Moun­tain Ash

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