321. While the actual numbers of young black people
entering the criminal justice system are small in relation to
the figures for white young people, the proportion of young black
people coming into the system is unacceptable. Black communities'
vast social, economic and cultural contribution to this country
is being held back by the proportion of young people who are arrested,
convicted, imprisoned and victimised by crime. The broader trend
of overrepresentation of black people of all ages in the system
is being driven by the disproportionate involvement of the young.
We saw little evidence during this inquiry that overrepresentation
is diminishing, and heard that it may be increasing.
322. Despite the Government's evident commitment
to reducing this overrepresentation, the number of young black
people in custody is growing at an alarming rate, and much faster
than for the general population. Our evidence painted a picture
of patchy and diffuse initiatives that are often insufficiently
focused and resourced. Until such a time as the number of young
black people in the criminal justice system begins to mirror that
of the population as a whole, we urge government to review, revise
and redouble its efforts to address overrepresentation and its
causes. A great deal depends on its success in doing so.