Each year, scores of young Black men enter correctional facilities across the U.S. — now, new data from across the pond shows that Black boys aren’t faring any better in Britain. According to a report published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, young Black males now make up nearly 40% of the population in youth jails across England and Wales.
The numbers in the report, Children and Young People in Custody 2010-2011, also showed that the percentage of Black and minority ethnic children in custody has not fallen at the same rate as that of white children. Between 2007 and 2011 there was a 37 percent reduction in white children in custody, compared with a 16 percent reduction in black and ethnic minority children.
England’s hushed race issues came to a head earlier this summer as nearly uncontrollable riots raged through many London neighborhoods and the city’s Black and minority citizens used the international spotlight to bring attention to their concerns. A post-riot analysis of the arrests during the unrest showed that of those brought before the courts for riot-related offenses, 46% were Black, 42% were white and only 7% were Asian. Blacks make up just 3 percent of London’s total population.
In addition to the population increase among Black youth being incarcerated, the report also found that young people aged 15 to 18 are being held in dismal conditions and many reported that they did not feel safe while in custody.
"This report has highlighted some deterioration in children and young people's experience of custody. Despite the falling numbers, this population has well-defined vulnerability and increasing numbers within minority groups. The need, therefore, to provide these people with support during their time in custody and in preparation for their release is as great as ever,” chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick told British newspaper, The Guardian.
According to the report, fewer young inmates felt they could tell someone on staff that they were being victimized or believed that anyone would take their claims seriously.
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