A review led by Labour MP David Lammy, found that the system in UK is biased. It discriminates in treatment of people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Mr Lammy said, young offenders from ethnic minorities will become “the next generation” of criminals unless the justice system is reformed.
The Labour MP has made 35 recommendations, including delaying or dropping some prosecutions.
The government responded saying it would “look carefully” at the suggestions.
According to the review, 25% of the prison population in England and Wales is made up of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. In the youth justice system, that percentage becomes 41%. Just 14% of the country’s population is made up of these groups.
It has highlighted various “concerning” statistics. Including a rise in the proportion of first-time offenders from these backgrounds to 19%. This is up from 11% in the past 10 years. The same increase in the proportion of young people reoffending.
Some of the recommendations included allowing low-level offenders to “defer” prosecution. Another was to opt for a rehabilitation programme before entering a plea. The introduction of targets for a workforce more representative of the population within the justice system, was also suggested. Additionally, an increase in the gathering of data and information on the ethnicity and religion of offenders was recommended.
Mr Lammy said his report was about looking at the “treatment and outcomes” of those from minority backgrounds. He added it was well-established that there was an over-representation of people from those groups in the criminal justice system.
He added, “young black people are now nine times more likely to be in youth custody than young white people.
Mr Lammy pointed out that BAME children are less likely to be recorded as having various concerns. Such as mental health issues or substance misuse issues, unlike their white peers.