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No black people among Parole Board's 240 members

SIGNIFICANT CONCERN: The chair of the Parole Board wants to address the lack of its black members

IT IS a significant concern that none of the Parole Board’s members are black, its chair has said.

Caroline Corby has revealed that none of the Parole Board’s 240 members are black and just 13 are from an ethnic minority background.

The Parole Board is the independent body that conducts risk assessments on prisoners to determine if they can safely re-enter the community.

Corby told the BBC: “At the moment we have no black Parole Board members and that’s of significant concern to me.

“But in terms of addressing this issue, we’re very keen to have as many people with a BAME background apply to us as possible.”

Corby said that although efforts had been made to address the issue, she believed unconscious bias was a factor in why

In 2016 and 2017, the Parole Board launched a campaign to recruit 100 members but the recruitment drive did not attract a lot of ethnic minority candidates. And those that did apply did not fare well in the selection process.

“We have learnt lessons from our last recruitment round because we actually had the same objective and we weren’t successful, so I am determined to learn lessons from last time around,” she said.

She added: “But I think there must have been some kind of unconscious bias in those processes. We’re not going to have those processes next time around.”

David Lammy responded to the revelation and urged action to be taken to recruit black members.

He said: “It's appalling that not one of the Parole Board's 240 members is black, while the prison population is disproportionately is. This undermines trust and contributes to an atmosphere of 'us' and 'them'. Corby is right to call out "unconscious bias" - now we need action.”

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