Jacqueline Macdonald-Davis and Jessica Baldwin are spearheading a campaign to court greater diversity among volunteers to the bench

Criminal justice has among the lowest proportion of senior staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Research published last week by consultants Green Park found that while 6.6% of leaders in NHS trusts and on average 4.2% in local government are from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, only 3% come from this background in the criminal justice system. This compares to 12.8% of the working age population who described themselves as BAME in the 2011 census, 7.3% of senior leaders in FTSE 100 companies and 7% of senior leaders in public services.

Last week’s analysis follows a government-commissioned interim report by the Labour MP David Lammy last year, which found that people from minority backgrounds are more likely to be jailed for certain crimes than those who are white. They are over-represented at almost all stages of the criminal justice system. So defendants from minority communities appear more frequently than the population average while those who pass judgment on them are older and whiter than their peers.

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