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Richard Easton considers the Lammy Review’s proposals to reform the criminal records regime and prevent further discrimination against BAME and juvenile ex-offenders

25 September 2017

With its recommendations of race-blind charging decisions, deferred prosecutions, and community involvement in youth rehabilitation, this month’s Lammy Review may bring about changes in the treatment of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals in the criminal justice system as significant as those ushered in by the Macpherson Report in 1999. A theme within the review that has, however, obtained little press is the harshness of the criminal records system on ethnic minorities and juveniles of all races.

Is the criminal records regime in England and Wales prejudicial to youths generally and more especially BAME youths? Would banning questions about previous convictions during work recruitment processes end the ‘double penalty’ of being black and holding a criminal record? And should, as Lammy advocates, an American model of sealing police records be adopted?

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