Yesterday (16th November) I published emerging findings from my independent review into race and the criminal justice system. This interim report offers ground-breaking empirical evidence proving that individuals from BAME backgrounds are more likely to go to prison for certain types of crime.
You can read the full announcement here, and read The Guardian's report here. You can listen to my interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme here, from 2:47 onwards.
Some of the figures published include for every 100 white women handed custodial sentences at Crown Courts for drug offences, 227 black woman are sentenced to custody. For black men, this figure is 141 for every 100 white men. Among all those found guilty at Crown Court in 2014 across all types of crime, 112 black men were sentenced to custody for every 100 white men.
My emerging findings have raised some difficult questions over whether ethnic minority communities are getting a fair deal in our justice system.
We need to fully understand why, for example, ethnic minority defendants are more likely to receive prison sentences than white defendants.
These are complex issues and I will dig deeper to in the coming months to establish whether bias is a factor.
Over the coming months I will scrutinise the data to help inform what recommendations I will make to the Prime Minister.
Some of my initial concerns surround the use of gang matrices, which lead to lengthier custodial sentences for BAME individuals. Another issue to raise is the effect of discretion in disproportionate outcomes, such as black men being four times as likely to be stopped and searched as white men.
I also believe that not all answers lie within the criminal justice system, and I will address education and employment opportunities within my recommendations.
I look forward to publishing my final report and recommendations next year.