Race equality and probation – a view from the frontline

AuthorNicola Carr
Published date01 June 2022
Date01 June 2022
Subject MatterEditorial
Race equality and
probation a view from
the frontline
This issue of the journal includes an important piece by Mariam Rashid, a practi-
tioner working in England. Mariams practice note ref‌lects on what she describes
as complex complicityas a woman of colour working in a criminal justice system
that disproportionately processes people from racial and ethnic minorities.
Evidence of this disproportionality has been set out in a range of research and
reports over many years, including most prominently in the Lammy Report published
in 2017 which documented differential treatment and outcomes for Black, Asian,
and Minority Ethnic individuals at all stages of the criminal justice system (Lammy,
2017). The Lammy Report outlined that people from Black, Asian, and Minority
Ethnic backgrounds are disproportionately targeted by police Stop and Search
practices and are over-represented at all stages of the system and especially in
the youth justice system and prison population. The data cited in the Lammy
Report is from 2015/16, but a look at the most recent statistics shows that depress-
ingly the dial has not shifted on this issue, despite a series of recommendations
aimed at addressing the causes of disproportionality. In 2020 Black people com-
prised 3% of the population in England and Wales, but constituted 18% of all
Stop and Searches, and 13% of the prison population (Ministry of Justice, 2021).
In the interim of course, we have also seen the publication of the Commission on
Race and Ethnic Disparities Report (2021), which was widely criticized from a
range of quarters for diluting the concept of institutional racismand downplaying
the structural factors impacting on people from racial and ethnic minorities living in
the United Kingdom (Runnymede Trust, 2021; Walker and Parveen, 2021). This has
raised questions about this governments commitment to meaningfully addressing
the impacts of racial and ethnic disparities in all areas of society, including in the
criminal justice system. In 2021 we also saw the publication of the Probation
Inspectorates Thematic Review of Race Equality in probation (HMIP, 2021).
Importantly this review looked at the experiences of both probation service users
and staff. Several issues of concern are documented including gaps in service pro-
vision and a decline in probation servicesfocus on racial equality following the
implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation reforms. The thematic review also
noted black, Asian and minority ethnic staff concernsregarding transparency of
recruitment and selection practices and a lack of conf‌idence in raising issues of
racial discrimination.
Editorial The Journal of Communit
and Criminal Justice
Probation Journal
2022, Vol. 69(2) 135137
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/02645505221097517

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