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Revolving Doors publishes briefing into racial bias in the criminal justice system


18 August 2020
Revolving Doors publishes briefing into racial bias in the criminal justice system

Revolving Doors Agency has published an analysis of government data which shows that Black young adults (aged18-24 years) are significantly more likely to be caught up in the criminal justice system (CJS) for relatively low-level and non-violent offences (such as theft or minor drug offences) than any other group of young adults.

The report found that Ministry of Justice data reveals that:

  • Repeat offenders account for nearly 40% of all people in the CJS, the highest levels on record.
  • The proportion of Black adults that are convinced of 16 or more offences has doubled between 2000 and 2016, now constituting 10% of all repeat offenders


The analysis found that when compared to other young adults, black young adults are:

  • Twice as likely to receive a caution
  • 8.4 times more likely to receive a conviction
  • 1.5 times more likely to be sent to prison


They are also given prison sentences that are 80% longer than those given to white young adults who commit similar offences.

The analysis found that over the last 10 years, the number of young adults going through the criminal justice system has gradually decreased, but the rate of decrease has been different across ethnicities. The reduction for white young adults was 55%, but the reduction for black young adults was 34%. This has resulted in an increase in the proportion of Black young adults in the system.

Revolving Doors Agency makes several recommendations for needs to change, including;

  • For all public services including the police to publish data broken down by ethnicity, and an evidence-based explanation for racial disparities, and what they are doing to address these.
  • For more young adults to be supported to address the underlying reasons for the offending (poverty, trauma and racism), rather than being pulled into the CJS


The full report can be found here.

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