British Minorities More Likely Than Whites To Get Prison Terms


Offenders from ethnic minorities in Britain are more likely than their white counterparts to be sentenced to prison for certain categories of crimes, found an analysis by The Guardian in London of more than 1 million court records. The study found black offenders were 44 percent more likely than white offenders to be sentenced to prison for driving offenses, 38 percent more likely to be imprisoned for public disorder or possession of a weapon and 27 percent more likely for drugs possession.

Asian offenders were 41 percent more likely to be sent to prison for drug offenses than their white counterparts and 19 percent more likely to go to jail for shoplifting. The newspaper said its findings suggest wider variations in sentencing than in some previous studies and also show variation between courts. Frances Done, chair of the Youth Justice Board, fears the “disproportionality appears to be getting worse”. She said, “As the numbers in [youth] custody have gone down, the proportion of those from black and ethnic backgrounds has gone up. We don’t get the view that this is about deliberate discrimination but because of practices that have not been thought through.”

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