Lammy Review: A Conversation with Solicitors
This was an evening aimed at Solicitors and others in the legal profession with the power to make a difference. This event was held this week on Monday 2nd October 2017 at Franklin-Wilkins Building. It was a huge privilege to listen to David Lammy MP speak about his findings from his report and the recommendations for the Criminal Justice System. The main ethos of the whole night was communicating to Solicitors that we do have a problem within our Criminal Justice System and that we need to change and the report is just the beginning. As Criminal Defence Solicitors this was a worthy conversation to get involved with. In the words of David Lammy, not all the recommendations need money, some can even be implemented now to start changing our Criminal Justice System.
David Lammy findings
David Lammy began speaking about his report and how he wanted to start by looking at the other jurisdictions to see about their disproportionality.
David Lammy’s findings were as follows:
• 70% of the Prison population in the Australian system is from an Ethnic minority background
• New Zealand – 50%
• Canada- 1/3
However, when looking at our own system, we have a bigger problem that has been documented, bigger than the problems the USA are facing.
What we need to do
David Lammy expressed that this report only looks at the Criminal Justice System, but he wishes to look at other areas to try and change it completely, such as education and social matters. He wants to start with the Criminal Justice System by implementing the 35 recommendations suggested by the report delivering results that show 25% of our prison population are from an ethnic minority background. In particular we need to tackle the issues within our Youth Justice System as 41% are from an ethnic minority background. There is a clear issue which needs to be addressed. David Lammy suggested that we need to make a change within our sectors first, being that 6% of our prison governors come from an ethnic background and only 1% rise in the Judicial appointment. We also need to change the way we look at our Youth Justice System and especially at “Not guilty pleas”as there is a clear issue of trust in our system and stopping youths from electing to have a jury. Another suggestion looked at Criminal records and changing it so that when you have had a conviction at an early age, limiting access to past records and not having this haunt you for the rest of your life.
What was echoed throughout this seminar is that we know that there is a problem and we need to address it. The Lammy Report is a good start to show evidence behind the theory that we have a problem and the recommendations need to be implemented right away.