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We must finish what Lammy started

ANALYSIS: MP David Lammy (image credit: 'Evening Standard'/Jeramy Selwyn)

'THE VOICE'S' coverage of the release of The Lammy Review, MP David Lammy’s appraisal of the UK criminal justice system, including an exclusive sit-down with the Tottenham politico, reported that British-born people of African and Caribbean heritage (BBPACH), are grossly overrepresented in prisons and are routinely discriminated against at every level of the system.

After reading the report, it was clear that our communities are in crisis and a national representative who could help guide the sectors of our youths that are wayward, persecuted and vulnerable.

According to David Lammy review, BBPACH now account for 41% of the prison population. BBPACH are nine times more likely to be imprisoned than whites and the age for first-time offending among BBPACH has fallen significantly since 2006.

In the USA, African-American people have the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) to represent them at a country wide level. Created in 1909 to advance justice for African-Americans, to eliminate race-based discrimination and to ensure the political, educational, social, and economics of rights of African people were upheld.

Here, in England, to my knowledge, BBPACH have not created a national voice, charity or political party that specifically champions issues of concern to BBPACH. Moreover, the Labour Party, which BBPACH tend to support, is generally opposed to identity politics, and there are many Labour-controlled local authorities who resist the creation of culturally-specific community centres.

CHANGE-MAKERS: From left - Camila Batmanghelidjh and Alan Yentob of Kids Company (image credit: Getty)

The nearest African heritage people had to a regional charity was Kids Company, founded by Iranian Camila Batmanghelidjh and chaired by Jewish BBC Executive, Alan Yentob. Its aim was to provide support to deprived inner-city children and it gave an unprecedented amount of help to troubled youth of African and Caribbean heritage. The hundreds of children helped by Kids Company are still in need, but they are left without Kids Company and without targeted charitable assistance. African Caribbean Churches should have offered financial assistance to support the troubled charity. Batmanghelidjh ought to be have offered a peerage for her great assistance to BBPACH; instead she was bullied and criticised.

I have been privately informed by professional judges I know personally, that the treatment of BBPACH within the criminal justice system has deteriorated significantly since the abolition of the the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and they feel that the closure could be a contributing factor in the huge rise in the percentage of BBPACH in our prisons.

According to Lammy’s report, the Department of Justice spends £309 million annually on incarcerating BBPACH.

Voice readers, BBPACH and sympathisers must demand public funding to create the organisations that are so clearly needed to arrest the cycles of delinquency, gang culture, unemployment, and prison, which are the current projections for far too many of our youth in England today.

Change must come. BBPACH must lead the change that is desperately needed in England today.

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