Comments on the Lammy Review on the Criminal Justice System

Comments on the Lammy Review on the Criminal Justice System

The review by MP & Barrister David Lammy has just been published; see here for the “call for evidence analysis” and here for the full review.  The review is said by some to have ‘exposed’ racial bias within the Criminal Justice System, see here.  Lammy himself claims that the racial bias in the Criminal Justice System is a “ticking time bomb”, see here.

The review is based on a survey and some statistical analysis.  The review was ordered by former Prime Minister David Cameron in order to ascertain why certain ethnic groups were over-represented in the Criminal Justice System.  There were a total of 275 respondents to the survey.  A full copy of the survey can be found in the annex to the “call for evidence and analysis”.

When asked about proportionally higher rates of acquittal among ethnic minorities, a substantial proportion of the respondents stated that weaker cases were brought against such minorities.  One would imagine that if the conviction rate was higher for ethnic minorities, or indeed any particular ethnic group, complaints would be made about biased Juries and Magistrates.

‘Institutional Racism’ was mentioned.  This is a term that came to prominence after the Macpherson Inquiry.  This Inquiry was almost universally accepted as having proven the prevalence of ‘Institutional Racism’ within the Police and society as whole.  However little was mentioned of the detail, such as the evidence heard by the Inquiry, the make up and conduct of the panel, the remit of the Inquiry and the definition of ‘Institutional Racism’.

A fascinating alternative perspective can be found in this paper which does consider the aforementioned.  I wonder to what extent the perceptions of the public are influenced by reviews and Inquiries rather than reality.