By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
The number of Muslim prisoners in British jails has doubled over the past 10 years, a study released on Wednesday revealed.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, opposition Labour lawmaker David Lammy — who headed the independent probe into race and the prison system — wrote:
“Some groups, such as the Muslim population, do not fall within one ethnic category — but we know that the number of Muslims in our prisons has nearly doubled in the last decade.”
The Lammy Review’s initial findings claim Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities are overrepresented in the prison population, out of proportion to their numbers in the U.K. as a whole.
Wednesday’s research says around a quarter of British prisoners are from a BAME background, “compared with 13 percent of the wider population”.
“Black and minority ethnic defendants are more likely to go to prison for certain types of crime,” it added.
The initial findings of the government-commissioned review will be followed by a full report and recommendations next year.
“We need to fully understand why, for example, ethnic minority defendants are more likely to receive prison sentences than white defendants,” Lammy said in a statement.
Some of Wednesday’s other findings say people from BAME backgrounds are more likely than their white counterparts to experience discrimination in the criminal system.
Over half of U.K.-born people from a BAME background also think the “criminal justice system discriminates against particular groups,” Wednesday’s initial findings said.
Lammy described the issue as “complex” and said he would “dig deeper in the coming months to establish whether bias is a factor”.
“These emerging findings raise difficult questions about whether ethnic minority communities are getting a fair deal in our justice system,” the Labour lawmaker added.