THE ASSOCIATION OF YOT MANAGERS RESPONSE TO THE LAMMY REVIEW: An independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the Criminal Justice System
8th September 2017
The AYM welcomes the publication of the review by David Lammy MP which understandably has taken considerable time to complete. The work to produce the report has been comprehensive with analysis of data and consultation with all sectors of the criminal justice system; it includes a comparative review with justice systems in other countries. The AYM which represents 82% of the youth offending teams in England was pleased to be involved in this review.
The findings in the review regarding the treatment and outcomes for BAME young people, and the inclusion of those of Gypsy, Roma and Travellers (GRT) within this review, a group which is often overlooked, are well considered and the resultant recommendations are something the AYM would be keen to help develop further. It is re-assuring to see the qualification Lammy places on the cause of overrepresentation of BAME in the criminal justice system, recognizing the effect of poverty on individuals which may lead to a number of disadvantages, including increased likelihood of offending.
The review recognizes the reduction in youth crime, re-offending and custody but rightly highlights the fact that these reductions are not represented amongst BAME, noting in particular the disproportionality of BAME young people pleading not guilty. Lammy highlights the distrust of BAME individuals in the criminal justice system and those working within it, and the correlation of this with increased likelihood of receiving a custodial sentence and the associated higher level of offending following release from custody.
Lammy highlights the need for criminal justice agencies to work closer with local communities and for sentencers to be more representative of their community. The review particularly cites the needs for youth justice hearings to be undertaken in the community. The AYM would welcome dialogue with Lammy and the Ministry of Justice regarding this. As the report states, youth offending teams (YOTs) have many years of engaging the community in referral order panels (which Lammy would like renamed to Local Justice Panels) which could provide evidence of good practice to help such a development. Providing powers to these panels to hold other services to account for their role in a child’s rehabilitation is a welcomed feature of recommendation 18.
Recommendation 19 suggests magistrates should follow a number of cases in the youth justice system from start to finish. The AYM would support such monitoring but would want to extend that to all sentencers; magistrates generally have greater liaison with their YOT than judges and increasing this recommendation to all sentencers would be beneficial in ensuring all elements of the youth criminal justice system are drawn closer to their local community.
The review also highlights the issue of criminal records resulting from youth offending which have serious deleterious effects on a young person’s life chances. The review quotes the call in the Taylor Review for spent convictions to become non-disclosable, on standard and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks. Recommendations 34 and 35 are in line with the principles of the AYM and we hope that the review of criminal records legislation will result in an amendment to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which continues to negatively impact on employment opportunities for young people. For our position statements on this and other youth justice issues please see https://aym.org.uk/about-us/where-we-stand/
The review is critical of the small number of parenting orders made where young people offend which unfortunately overlooks the amount of parenting support provided by YOTs on a voluntary basis, which in some areas is significant.
Gang and group offending are concerning to all and the recommendation for CPS to consider its approach to prosecution of these offences, and in particular Joint Enterprise, is welcomed; as is the call for an examination of Modern Slavery legislation to protect vulnerable young people.
Deferred prosecution is also a welcomed recommendation. Many YOTs and Police Forces have been using a similar approach to out of court disposals, reducing the likelihood of further offending by providing the necessary support to young people’s needs rather than focussing on the delivery of punishment for an offence.
The introduction of an assessment for maturity for offenders up to the age of 21yrs is also welcomed. However, whilst the extension of support from YOTs, to those between 18 and 21yrs who are not considered mature, is welcomed and something the AYM would fully support it must not be introduced without the necessary transfer of funding to support such work.
The recommendations in the report are something the AYM would wish to support. Many are not directed toward YOTs or youth justice but the AYM is supportive of all in that they aim to improve relationships between the criminal justice system and local communities, and to safeguard and protect individuals within the criminal justice system and remove any causes of disproportionality with regard to BAME and GRT.
Recommendations to improve the secure estate are welcomed and in particular recommendation 20 and 21 which look to improve health provision within this estate.
Finally, the AYM whilst welcoming of this report is keen to ensure that changes to youth justice provision are undertaken in a similar way to this review , with care and full consideration of all aspects of the system. We look forward to reading the government response to this report and hope to be invited to help formulate future thinking on how the recommendations are taken forward.
Chair of the Association of YOT Managers
and Warwickshire Youth Justice Service Manager
Tel: 01926 682661
Mobile: 0787 6587833