Sharp rise in black and ethnic minority young prisoners

Prison Cell Emptysource: The Guardian
published: 24 June 2015

A Guardian analysis of newly released government figures has revealed a shocking increase in the proportion of ethnic minority children and young people being held in the youth justice system.

The figures, issued by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and which cover young offender institutions, secure detention centres and secure training centres in England and Wales, show that during 2014-15, 40% of prisoners aged under 18 were from black, Asian, mixed race or “other” ethnicity backgrounds (BME).

In 2005-6, when the ethnic mix of British prisoners started to be measured by prison authorities, there were far more children and young people in state custody overall – over 2,800 in 2005, compared to 1,048 in the last financial year.

Although the total number of teenagers and children held by the state has more than halved since 2005, the numbers of BME young prisoners has not fallen as much.

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