Racial justice in the criminal justice system: what can your church do?

Presented by the The Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion

The killing of George Floyd and the protests that arose from it highlighted yet again the tragic overrepresentation of black and minority ethnic people in the criminal justice system. Global media outlets highlighted some of the disparities — including the facts that black people are more likely to be stopped and searched, more likely to be arrested and more likely to receive prison sentences for the same offences than white people — and told just a handful of the stories of the everyday racism that BME people face, with others shared on social media and no doubt in personal conversations between friends. 

But actually, sadly, none of this should be news. In academic circles, criminologists and sociologists have pointed to the challenges for decades, whilst policymakers have explored them in a series of reports, action plans and strategies. One of the best known of these is the 2017 ‘Lammy Review’,  the independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system chaired by Labour MP (and now Shadow Justice Secretary) David Lammy. The Lammy Review highlighted a series of systemic failings and made some important recommendations for government and wider civil society, many of which still wait to be fully implemented.

Delivering change in such areas is not something governments can do alone. It requires commitment and collaboration across a wide variety of sectors, including from faith communities. The Free Churches Group, the national body representing the UK’s independent, ‘nonconformist’ and free churches, has worked with the Cadbury Centre to develop a straightforward strategy to help churches implement relevant insights from the Lammy Review into their own communities and congregations. Our ‘ChangingTACK’ model encourages churches to help build Trust, Accountability, Community and Knowledge to confront the very real disparities BME communities face in the criminal justice system and to play their part in working for racial justice in all areas of public life and private experience.

Our 2020 webinar series, ‘Racial Justice in the Criminal Justice System: What Can Your Church Do?’ seeks to help churches think through these issues and identify specific, practical interventions that will make a difference in their communities.

There are no forthcoming events currently being advertised, please check back soon.