24 April 2017
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"Double disadvantage" for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women in the criminal justice system
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The "double disadvantage" that the report refers to stems from two issues: that "women are more likely than men to be remanded and then not receive a custodial sentence", and evidence that suggests "BAME women face further discrimination, with black women much more likely than white women to be given custodial sentences for the same offences."
See the report: Double disadvantage: The experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women in the criminal justice system(link to pdf)
From the Women in Prison website (link):
The report found that BAME women felt:
Women are more likely than men to be remanded and then not receive a custodial sentence.
Evidence suggests BAME women face further discrimination, with black women much more likely than white women to be given custodial sentences for the same offences.
Most of the jury, not most, all of them were not of my ethnic background, all of them were white and they were all of old age, none of them were from my age group or one of them of my ethnic minority ..I think juries make up their mind from when they see you they have something in their thoughts already from when they clap eyes on you.
Mine was all white with one Asian man and when I spoke to my solicitor I said I thought it was supposed to be a different mix of cultures and background and my advice from my solicitor was that if I challenge it, it would come across as that I was racist, he said it would be another mark on your character so just don't say anything.
I had a pretty old jury and I was thinking well Im young and Im black, hmm what are my chances?
I've never heard so much racism until I came to jail.
I think they [the officers] should have more cultural awareness training because at the end of the day it's 2016 and they are still going on with the same old 'if black people are loud they are aggressive' if we're huddling together we're in gangs"
For a white person its mental health and for a black person it's classed as anger management issues.
Ive had a conversation where the officer has been like oh weve been here 5 minutes now we have to move because if anyone sees us talking for too long theyll be like, oh why they talking to you is it because you are black.
Obviously its a ripple effect isnt it? Weve been sentenced but theyve [our children] been sentenced with us. It is a struggle. Im a single parent Ive got a son but he was 100% dependent on me.
Its shocking to see how many mums are in prison for nothing.
I was speaking to someone and I couldnt speak any other language to this person other than Urdu so I was speaking in Urdu and an officer came to the phone and shouted, speak in English. And at the time the person was really, really ill as well so I had to put the phone down and explain to the officer that that person cant speak English and the officer said I need to put in an application to security.
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