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Odds Stacked Against Us explores the cumulative disadvantage that has built up for Black, Asian and racially minoritised communities over years of discriminatory criminal justice policies and practices being introduced; stop and search is just one of many. Through interviews with academics, charity campaigners, public service workers and people with lived experience, the film explores different policies within policing and the wider justice system that disproportionately impact racially minoritised people, and calls on the Government for action. It was produced alongside an academic toolkit to measure and reduce the impact of these policies. It contains material of a sensitive nature, including racism, discrimination and police violence.

This film contains material of a sensitive nature, including racism, discrimination and police violence.


Film made by Lilka Szerszynska
Directed by Hannah Pittaway and Kenya Lamb
Voice over by Lilka Szerszynska
Spoken word introduction by George the Poet
Stephen Lawrence footage provided by The Open University
Special thanks to the Baring Foundation for funding the CJA’s Tackling Racial Inequality Project.
Acknowledgements: Emmanuelle Andrews, Liberty Katrina Ffrench, UNJUST CIC Kenya Lamb, The Criminal Justice Alliance Leroy Logan MBE, Reallity Security Solutions Saqib Deshmukh, Alliance for Youth Justice Jun Pang, Liberty Tyrell Davis-Douglin, The Hope Collective.

This toolkit sets out the ways in which CSOs can identify and challenge racially discriminatory criminal justice policies using the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). The toolkit will support organisations to feel confident in working with lawyers and how to take preliminary steps prior to a legal challenge. By building the confidence of CSOs in challenging public bodies through this practical toolkit, we hope this will increase transparency and accountability of public bodies, ultimately improving adherence to the PSED and reducing racial inequalities in the criminal justice system.
What is in the toolkit?

The toolkit is made up of five individual guides, which help demystify the language and processes that CSOs may face when challenging a public bodies’ lack of adherence to the PSED.
The guides also contain case studies of recent successes where CSOs have challenged criminal justice policies based on a public bodies’ lack of adherence to the PSED. Examples include the historical case that led to the removal of the Metropolitan Police’s Gangs Matrix database that targeted young Black men, led by UNJUST and Liberty and the successful challenge of South Wales Police’s facial recognition technology on the basis that there was a risk that the software might indirectly discriminate against individuals on the basis of race and sex.

In this response to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and College of Policing (CoP)’s Police Race Action Plan, we welcome the commitment of the police to becoming an anti-racist police service that is trusted by Black people, and the positive direction set out in the Plan. However, we have also highlighted our overall and fundamental concerns that the Plan overlooks key areas that would improve policing for Black people, such as a specific focus on improving Black detainees’ experiences of police custody and addressing Black women and girls’ experiences of policing.  We also state that the Plan’s ambitions are undermined by recent policy decisions to extend some police powers that disproportionately affect Black people. Our members are also concerned that the plan has not been co-produced with Black communities.

In this report, we explore the effectiveness of independent monitoring boards (IMBs) at monitoring outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic women in prison. We surveyed IMB Chairs and board members with responsibility for monitoring equalities issues in prisons holding women. We found some examples of IMBs assisting in improving conditions for and treatment of Black, Asian and minority ethnic women. However, there are still key challenges for Board members to effectively monitor outcomes for women from minority ethnic backgrounds, such as cultural and language barriers, inconsistent equalities data and the limited resources and expertise of IMBs.

This report is part of a three-part collaborative project, Towards Race Equality, between the CJA and IMBs.

Report 1 outlines the findings of over 260 survey responses from Black, Asian and minority ethnic women, including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women and foreign nationals, held in prison about their experiences.

Report 2 outlines the challenges that equality staff working in prisons holding women face, and the solutions they have implemented in their respective prisons.

The Executive Summary of the Towards Race Equality project contains our overarching conclusions and 26 recommendations for urgent change.

This joint briefing from a coalition of criminal justice organisations outlines how 10 clauses in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will deepen racial inequality in the criminal justice system, and without evidence that they will reduce crime or improve public safety. We draw on the government’s own equality assessments, which acknowledge that most of the provisions reviewed in this briefing are indirectly discriminatory. We also highlight the government’s lack of evidence that they are a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’ and the lack of sufficient mitigation of their impact on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

In March, the CJA and a coalition of organisations wrote to the Prime Minister, warning that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will deepen existing racial inequality in the criminal justice system, leading to more Black, Asian and minority ethnic people being swept into the criminal justice system for ever increasing periods of their lives. We have now received a response from the government.

This briefing from a coalition of criminal justice and race equality organisations explores how the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill could deepen racial inequality in the criminal justice system. It analyses the equality impact assessments behind the Bill, and calls for the government to withdraw the discriminatory measures and launch a proper public consultation.

We wrote to the Ministry of Justice in March, setting out our concerns that the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will deepen racial inequality in the criminal justice system and asking for further details on how the government has assessed the disproportionate impact of the legislation. We have received a response from the justice secretary providing more detail.

In this briefing for the Women and Equalities Select Committee, the CJA discusses the impact of COVID-19 on those with protected characteristics within the criminal justice system.

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) play a crucial role in tackling crime, addressing the needs of their communities, and ensuring the justice system is fair and effective. In this role, PCCs can stimulate local innovative practice, bring together organisations and individuals from across the criminal justice system to make these initiatives a success and make substantial change to the lives of people affected by crime.

This document highlights some of the main challenges facing the criminal justice system and provides practical innovative solutions that prospective PCCs could include in their manifestos for the 2020 elections.

This briefing is the result of a round table event organised by the CJA and Ministry of Justice for a group of CJA members to discuss the challenges facing the justice system created by the ageing population. Attendees were asked to focus on two key questions: What are the unique needs of older people involved in the CJS? What changes could we consider over the longer term to ensure the needs of this group are better met?

A report on the recent experience of young black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) and stop and search.