More than half of young people in jail are of BME background

More than half of the inmates held in prisons for young people in England and Wales are from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background, the highest proportion on record, the prisons watchdog has said, prompting warnings that youth jails have hit “American” levels of disproportionality.

About 51% of boys in young offender institutions (YOIs) – prisons for boys aged 15 to 17 and young adult men aged 18 to 21 – identified as being from a BME background, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found.

In addition, the inspectorate found 42% of children in secure training centres (STCs) – prisons for children up to the age of 17 – were from a BME background.

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