In recent years much of our work addressing racial inequality in the criminal justice was through the EQUAL programme which had its roots in the Young Review, 2014.
Action for Race Equality provided independent Secretariat support for the EQUAL project until 2023.
EQUAL’s work is now carried out across Action for Race Equality’s wider campaigning and policy work.
The EQUAL website and social media accounts will be live for a short time, for reference/archive purposes. If you’re a journalist or researcher, and would like more information on EQUAL and its legacy, please contact us on email@example.com.
A deep legacy
The Young Review, steered by Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey, launched in December 2014 with a report which gave a comprehensive insight into the disproportionality of BAME people and Muslim men within the criminal justice system (CJS).
It made trailblazing recommendations to inoculate against racial bias within the Criminal Justice System.
Holding government to account
One of the recommendations of the Young Review report was to set up an independent advisory group which was established with experts from various fields of the criminal justice system.
The Young Review Independent Advisory Group (YRIAG) oversaw the implementations of the recommendations from the Young Review.
Baroness Young Steered YRIAG for six years before stepping down as Chair in 2018.
Iqbal Wahhab OBE was then appointed as Chair of the Young Review Independent Advisory Group which was rebranded and renamed as EQUAL.
In this new guise, with academics, policy makers, frontline CJS staff and government officials making up a National Independent Advisory Group, EQUAL set out to address the poorer outcomes experienced by BAME groups and Muslims in the criminal justice system, as identified in the Young Review and the Lammy Review (2018).
It is our view, that to undermineEQUAL
the current notion of risk around
Black, Asian and minority ethnic
and Muslim communities there
needs to be a shift towards seeing
each person as an individual.”
Its three policy priority areas were:
- Prisons and probation
- Policing of BAME young people
- Youth justice system
It influenced policy across these areas through a number of activities, including chairing a multiagency roundtable on ethnic disparities in sentencing; running online events for practitioners and policy-makers #TimeToAct and #TimeToTalk.
One of the big achievements of the Young Review Independent Advisory Group has been the relationship that has been built with MOJ/HMPPS particularly around the implementation of the Lammy Review.
Here, the Advisory Group was a key partner and scrutineer of the delivery of the recommendations outlined in David Lammy’s report.
Whilst valuing the importance of working closely with government, the advisory group set EQUAL out to bravely challenge policy decisions that perpetuate ethnic disparities. We remain vigilant in calling government departments to account through recognising the Public Sector Equality Duty.
The advisory group still exists as the National Independent Advisory Group at ARE.
Challenging the Gangs Matrix
The 2018 report from the Information Commissioner was a wake-up call for all of our CJS institutions about the dangers of systemically perpetuating the criminalisation of minority groups.
We argued for reform of the Gang’s Matrix through the Mayor of London’s review of the Matrix. EQUAL saw the Information Commissioner’s report as a wake up call for all of our CJS institutions to the dangers of systemically perpetuating the criminalisation of minority groups.
#EndCJSInequality: PCSC bill
In March 2021, EQUAL formed part of a coalition of criminal justice and race equality organiations to campaign around the elements of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (now Act) that the government themselves admitted will have a disproportionate impact on racially minoritised people in equality assessments.
We ran a series of social media campaigns, as well as launched a petition around removing discriminatory elements of the Bill.
Legal Action Training for Black-led organisations
In partnership with Liberty, civil rights organisation, EQUAL ran a series of Legal Action Training sessions for grassroots groups led by Black, Asian, Mixed heritage and Muslim people. The project delivered five week long sessions with facilitators from Criminal Justice Alliance, Maslaha and Action for Race Equality.
The #TakeAction Legal Action training workshops by EQUAL and Liberty came at a time where we needed to deepen our understanding around the legality of the stop and scan process. The training provided a unique and valuable opportunity to fill the gaps in our knowledge and upskill our team of organisers and community members. This was incredibly important to us as we recognised the opportunities to equip our communities with knowledge of their rights, were few and far between.”Racial Justice Network, Legal Action Participants
Barrow Cadbury Trust are proud to have worked closely with ARE [formerly BTEG] for the past seven years on the stubborn and thorny issue of racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system. ARE bravely stepped into this work alongside Clinks and others with the Young Review (later EQUAL) curating, driving and servicing and alliance of a set of experts in the field, largely those with lived experience of racism and/or the justice system itself. Thank you ARE for your perseverance over so many years of shining a light on injustice. Thank you Jeremy and your board for your vision and leadership.Sara Llewellin, Chief Executive, Barrow Cadbury Trust