David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, has accepted a request from David Cameron, the Prime Minister, to look at the high rate of black and minority ethnic (BAME) defendants and how they are more likely to be sentenced.
The report has been commissioned after figures showed that over a quarter of prisoners comprised of BAME individuals, compared to their representing 14% of the wider population in England and Wales.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said:
“If you’re black, you’re more likely to be in a prison cell than studying at a top university. And if you’re black, it seems you’re more likely to be sentenced to custody for a crime than if you’re white. We should investigate why this is and how we can end this possible discrimination.
That’s why I have asked David Lammy MP to lead a review of the over-representation of defendants from black and ethnic minority backgrounds in the criminal justice system. And this will include examining possible sentencing and prosecutorial disparity”.
David Lammy, who has served as the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community since 2010, said:
“I’ve been working in this area for almost two decades and am very pleased to accept the Prime Minister’s invitation to lead this comprehensive, independent review across our criminal justice system.
With over a quarter of the prison population coming from a BAME background the urgency here is clear.
I look forward to leading a team that will evaluate what works in the UK, draw on lessons from abroad and listen to a broad range of voices from the justice system and our BAME communities”.