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The Prison Reform Trust has throughout its history worked to highlight the disproportionate representation of and the poorer outcomes for people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in our prisons. In this section you can find our latest work.

What's the issue?

  • Over a quarter (27%) of the prison population, 21,537 people, are from a minority ethnic group.
  • If our prison population reflected the ethnic make-up of England and Wales, we would have over 9,000 fewer people in prison—the equivalent of 12 average-sized prisons.
  • There is a clear direct association between ethnicity and the odds of receiving a custodial sentence. People from black , Asian, and “Chinese or other” backgrounds are more likely to be sent to prison at the Crown Court.
  • Black and Asian people in prison are more likely to be serving long sentences than other groups.
  • Black people and people with a mixed ethnic background serve a greater proportion of their determinate sentence in custody than white people.

Latest news & updates: Race and prison

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