Earlier this year the Prime Minister asked me to lead a review to investgiate why Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals are over-represented in our criminal justice system and what can be done about it.
Urgent action is needed to tackle imprisonment rates for BAME people, and this review is a rare opportunity to forge a cross-party consensus on a "complex, contested and divisive" issue.
The review will address issues arising from the CPS involvement onwards - including the court system, in prisons and during rehabilitation in the wider community, to identify areas for reform and examples of good practice from the UK and beyond.
The first step of this review is an open consultation to get to grips with the issues at hand. The evidence received through this consultation will be crucial in identifying areas where real change can be achieved. I announced the call for evidence in an article in The Guardian on Friday evening, and the consultation opened at 09:00 this morning.
I want to hear from offenders, victims, witnesses, ex-offenders, those working in the criminal justice system, experts, academics, charities, NGOs and BAME communities from across the country.
Organisations and individuals can take part in the review by responding to the call for evidence here.