This essay will discuss black andminority ethnic groups (BME) and the way in which they are disproportionalityrepresented in the criminal justice system. The focus of this essay is todetermine whether there is over policing in regards to BME communities whichthen impacts on the percentage of BME groups going into the criminal justicesystem in comparison to the percentage of the civilian population of theirethnicity. This essay will objectively look at the two different arguments in regardsto their support or disagreement into whether or not the criminal justicesystem disproportionally represents the criminal justice system. This essaywill use statistics to provide further evidence to adequately support eachargument.The criminal justice system has recognised that the stop andsearch is problematic as well as inherently and systematically racist. The article mentions that Section 1 of thePACE code A; to have ‘reasonable grounds for suspicion’ is often misconstruedby officers who then use this Section to justify stereotyping BME groups and communities(Ellis, D.
, 2010.). In addition,this article also looks into how stop and searches involve disproportionateamounts of black and ethnic minority people being stopped when comparing thatto white people (Ellis, D.,2010.). Furthermore, the idea that police officers can stop and searchall members of society equally is a false proposition (Young, 1995). Further evidence to support thesefindings of the disproportionality of the way BME groups are represented in thecriminal justice system comes in the form of statistics provided by Prison ReformTrust where 21,937 prisoners are ethnic minorities this then compares to aroundone in ten of the general population. Moreover, when considering the Britishnational prison population, 10% are Black and 6% are Asian.
Black Britishcitizens experience this at a significantly higher rate, as they represent 2.8%of the general population whereas they account for the mass of minority ethnic prisonersat 49% Towards the end of June in 2014, the percentage of minority ethnic prisonersthat were foreign nationals was at 28%. (Prison Reform Trust). The disproportionalityof black people is now greater within prisons in Britain when comparing to theprisons in The United States this is according the (Equality and human rights commission).Therefore, this shows that there has been little to no improvement since theMacpherson report in 1999 claiming that the metropolitan police were ‘institutionallyracist’.
The police have been criticised when it involves targeting minoritiesin regards to stop and search interactions at high rates (Llewellyn, Agu 2010).A greatly significant event such as the 7/7 bombings were used as an instigatorfor the dramatic increase in stop and searches (Parmar, 2014). Muslimcommunities in the U.K. have now been disproportionately targeted by police dueto this event and the consequential increase (Parmar, 2014).
Regarding the disproportionally large amount ofBMEs in the criminal justice system, the most basic answer is that BMEindividuals are more likely to commit crimes.During 2016-17, people of white appearance made up 88% of allarrests, with 12% Black, 8% Asian and 1% Other making up the rest (Ministry ofJustice, 2017). The government estimates that the ethnic makeup of the general Britishpopulation during 2016-17 were 73% are White, 3% Black, 7% Asian and 1% Other. Thearrest numbers for White, Asian and Other ethnicities were roughly proportionalto their percentage of the general population. The figures above indicate that blackminorities are 4 times more likely to be detained than the population as whole.
Due to the strong correlation between arrest and criminality rates, it can beconcluded that Black people, but not necessarily other ethnic minority groups, havea higher rate of offence then whites. In addition, through a study and researchfindings from an article stated that it was believed that family, economy and alack of education were some of the reasons contributing to the BME disproportionality. (Nelson 2015) The disproportionalityof BME groups in prisons is the result of their over representation among thoseconvicted of crime and sentenced in Crown Courts. Studies conducted with over 15,000jurors discovered that while BME persons are 3.5% more probable to face a juryverdict, in comparison to their general civilian population, jury verdicts displayedonly slight differences based on a defendant’s ethnicity (Thomas, 2007). This impliesthat when a jury reaches its verdict, it is the only stage in the criminaljustice system where BME groups do not face persistent disproportionality iswhen a jury reaches a verdict.When comparingboth of the arguments put forth in the essay there is no clear cut answer as tohow people of black and minority ethnic groups are so disproportionalityrepresented in the criminal justice system.
The figures from the Prison Reform Trustclearly show as stated they count for a mere 2.8% of the general population butthen the difference to what thy account to in a prison population is a greatdifference at 49%. In addition, while there has been research into how more BMEgroups are in the criminal justice system because for their percentage populationthe crime is still at a high indicating that BME commit more crime. Moreover,there isn’t enough evidence to contradict that black and minority ethnic groupsare very clearly disproportionate in the criminal justice system and one of thecontroversial methods that was highlighted I tis essay was the racial stigmaaround stop and search. Furthermore, indicating the possibility of a biasagainst BME groups through stop and search then correlating to more BME groupsentering the criminal justice system.
In conclusionthis essay provides a clear view which highlights certain problems within theCriminal justice system as the evidence given correlates a clear disproportionof BME groups in the criminal justice system over a period of years. In addition,the most recent figures from the prison reform trust suggest that not much haschanges in the criminal justice system to improve this disproportion of BMEgroups.