FFT’s response to the Lammy Review into the treatment of BAME groups in the criminal justice system

On 8th September 2017, David Lammy published the final version of the Lammy Report, a review of the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals in the criminal justice system. The report examines the disproportionate numbers of BAME individuals in the criminal justice system and develops a number of recommendations to improve the experiences for these individuals.

What does the Lammy Review say about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities?

  • The report drew attention to the lack of data available on Gypsy and Traveller communities within the criminal justice system and recognised that unofficial estimates suggested a gross over-representation of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller within youth custody.
  • The report noted that some prison populations recorded up to 12% of their prisoners under the ethnic category of Gypsy or Irish Traveller, despite the fact that only 0.1% of the UK population identified themselves as Gypsy or Irish Traveller at the date of the last census.
  • The report recognised the high instances of suicide amongst Gypsy and Traveller prisoners.

Speaking about the Lammy Review, Emma Nuttall, Advice and Policy Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) said:

“We welcome the report but note that it provided only a small insight to the experience of Gypsy and Traveller communities and the criminal justice system.”

“We were asked to carry out focus groups in two prisons with Gypsy and Traveller prisoners. The aims of these groups were to investigate the factors which contributed to their imprisonment. The inmates identified that a lack of sites for those living on the roadside deprived them from living within their traditional and cultural way of life contributed to poor mental health and barriers to educational opportunity.”

“Some participants reported that judges used stereotypes during sentencing including a Gypsy ‘fighting’ background. This indicates that there is a clear and immediate need for training and education in the judiciary system. The participants also identified that there weren’t enough training courses in prison suited to their needs such as gardening or building which would contribute to skills training. It was observed that these courses would support rehabilitation upon release.”

In conclusion, Emma Nuttall said:

“The Review was unable to properly examine and break down the experience of Gypsies and Travellers in the criminal justice system as the data does not exist; this is something that Traveller organisations such as ourselves have long been raising. However we do note that the review acknowledges the massive over representation of Gypsies and Travellers in the youth justice system and the high incidence of Gypsy/Traveller suicides in prison.”

 

Find out more

If you would like to find out more information about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and the Criminal Justice System in the United Kingdom, please visit our Policy and Publications section.

 

Media Contact

Sarah Sweeney

Tel: 01273 234 777 Email: sarahsweeney@gypsy-traveller.org