On 14 July 2020, JUSTICE submitted evidence to the Justice Committee Inquiry into Children and young people in custody. The focus of the evidence was on the ongoing work we are undertaking with our working party on Racial Disparity in Youth Justice. As we have investigated the issue, five themes have emerged, which consider need to be focused on to improve the outcomes of BAME children in the justice system. These themes are:
a. Building trustworthiness within criminal justice institutions;
b. Improving the understanding of children within the youth justice system and giving children a voice;
c. Creating a truly child-centred approach;
d. Getting it right the first time; and
e. Not pigeonholing children and being flexible to their needs.
We consider that there is no one solution that fits all. Rather a culture change is needed that demands children are given all possible opportunities to lead fulfilling lives. For this to happen, criminal justice agencies need to take the lead in embedding processes that ensure BAME children and their needs, are seen and heard.