British Justice Not Blind For Black Children

Official UK government figures released show that as of February 2021, 74% of the children on remand in London were black. Yes, 7 out of 10 were black children though blacks account for 13% of the London population. Nothing indicates this terrifying figure has changed since. This is a tragic indictment of the British Criminal Justice System. Only the dishonestly naive believe the UK justice system is colour blind. It is NOT! It is a lamentable tragedy for 74% of black children suspected of crimes in London to end up in remand; possibly, to be released after their lives have been needlessly stained and ruined by the traumatic remand experience. Few adults survive prison or remand unscathed and the effect on the mental wellbeing of these children can be catastrophically lifelong. Could this explain the high prevalence in later life of mental health issues among blacks as a proportion of the whole population? Correlation does not mean causation but this peculiarity is too glaring to ignore. Children on remand have not been indicted or convicted of any crime; rather a judge or magistrate has decided they be placed on remand as they await trial. Children are low-level flight risks and can be tagged to be conveniently monitored at home. This is a luxury British justice cannot afford black children suspected of crimes and who legally remain innocent until otherwise proved. Keeping these children in remand needlessly exposes them to other criminals and increases their risk of joining the criminal conveyor belt, proceeding to commit more heinous offences later. The high re-offending rates in the UK is another grim reminder that keeping these children in remand in effect fast tracks them to future criminality, greatly diminishing their life chances and exponentially increasing the risk of the criminality cycle repeating itself when those children become adults, and parents themselves.

These remand figures should concern us all for another reason. It is the case that Pupil Referral Units have a disproportionate number of their pupils being black. Pupil Referral Units are where children unable to get educated in mainstream schools due to behaviour are sent. School exclusion rates for black Caribbean students in English schools are up to six times higher than those of white children in some local authorities. Pupil Referral Units are the shortest route to gangs, as gang leaders know the children therein are vulnerable and the easiest to recruit, in particular as drug pushers and mules for County Line drug operations. Black-led Community groups such as churches can play an important role such as sensitizing black parents about how to engage with schools from an early age as well as engaging local politicians to highlight this blatant injustice, and importantly to vote to influence policy locally and nationally. Asians used their vote and numbers to elect an Asian mayor for Newham and elsewhere. As a fact, black children in Britain are considerably disadvantaged by the education system. Without intervention, some transition to criminality and are more likely than any other group to be sent to prison and to receive stiffer penalties and sentences, even for comparable crimes to those committed by white children, for whom clemency and judicial reprieve seems uniquely and generously available. This information is publicly available. I reject entirely the offensive stereotype and misleading myth that black children are predisposed to criminality than any other demographic. I am without doubt our children’s future shall be better. However, each of us has a role to play and if highlighting the injustice these staggering figures show is part of that, I humbly delight in so doing. WaIkui 2021