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Public Protection Sentences: BAME Backgrounds

Volume 672: debated on Tuesday 25 February 2020

9. What estimate he has made of the proportion of people serving imprisonment for public protection sentences that are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. (900819)

No one should face any discrimination. I am pleased to have been able to answer this question earlier by stating that we welcomed and have acted upon the Lammy review. The proportion of BAME-IPP prisoners is lower than the proportion of BAME prisoners as a whole: 23% of IPP prisoners are from the BAME backgrounds, compared with 27% of the overall population.

Cases that I have been dealing with as a constituency MP concern me because of the potential for the race disparities that we know exist within the justice system, as the Minister has just said, to manifest themselves in cases of IPP prisoners from a BAME background, particularly in relation to access to courses and to the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions. What can the Minister do to ensure that the injustices relating to IPP sentences are not further compounded by our systemic problem with race in the criminal justice system?

The hon. Member is absolutely right to say that IPP prisoners need an opportunity for hope. They need the Prison Service to provide opportunities for reform and to help those prisoners to reform, so that at the end of the process, the Parole Board can consider them appropriately for release. She is right to identify the fact that there used to be a waiting list for certain accredited offender behaviour courses, but that is no longer the case apart from in relation to one. We are doing our best to ensure that all prisoners get the rehabilitation that they need while they are with us in the Prison Service.