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People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAMR) communities are 240% more likely to end up in prison for drug offences than white offenders, according to a review led by Labour MP David Lammy.

Lammy said his inquiry revealed that "BAME individuals still face bias" in the criminal justice system and called on Theresa May's government to implement his 35 recommendations for change.

Besides the huge disparity between BAME and white offenders sent to prison for drug crimes, the review highlights several other "concerning" statistics.

The number of BAME young offenders rose from 25% to 41% between 2006 and 2016, while the BAME proportion of first-time young offenders increased from 11% to 19% in a decade.

Lammy said the rise in young offenders was particularly "disturbing" and revealed that the criminal justice system appears to have "given up on parenting."

The report also recorded a noticeable disparity in pleading rates between BAME and white offenders. 41% of BAME defendants pleaded guilty in the Crown Courts between 2006 and 2016, compared with 31% of white defendants in the same period.

Trust is one of the main issues, according to the report. Many BAME individuals do not trust the advice they are given by solicitors and police officers when it comes to pleading guilty and therefore often end up on trial and receiving a longer sentence than white offenders.

"They simply do not believe that the justice system will deliver less punitive treatment if they plead guilty," Lammy said.

Robert Brown, a lawyer for Corker Binnings, said "confidence in the system was low, very low and maybe at an all time low. What I am seeing now is that what was wrong with the criminal justice system at the time of the Stephen Lawrence case is wrong with the system now," he said.

David Isaac, the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the government must "respond to the Lammy review urgently and put in place a comprehensive race strategy with stretching targets to reduce the race inequality that is so apparent in our society."

David Lammy
MP David Lammy who led the review said "it is clear that BAME individuals still face bias" in the criminal justice system Getty