Wednesday. Fandango’s Provocative Question once again. I’ve think this morning was one of my longest telephone sessions yet – I think 4 of the calls each took about ¾h, and my ear was sore by the end. It is almost 3PM and getting showered is still on my “to do” list, so the upshot is, I’m gonna try to keep this brief. Today, Fandango asks us:
Do you believe, with respect to the judicial system (or systems) in place where you live, that justice is, indeed, blind? Why do you feel that way?
Okay, brief. Probably the most obvious place to start is race. In the our most recent census of 2011, the population of England and Wales is around:
Asian (incl Chinese)
This information comes from the UK Government itself.
Now, in England and Wales, we are about 60+ million. This number comes from Worldometers. Now, we’re maybe not the largest country, but not a bad sample number, don’t you agree?
So, if justice were blind, don’t you think we’d expect to see broadly those numbers reflected in the prison population? Okay, not exactly, because there are so many variants here, but broadly. Instead, what we see is:
England/Wales Prison Population (c.80,000)
BME (Blach, Asian, Minority Ethnic)
these numbers from Wikipedia.
So, at this point, I shouldn’t have to say anything further. It’s not really something we need to debate, because the numbers speak for themselves. If you’re BME, you’re more likely to be banged up.
But it’s not just race. In the last few years here. We have seen big restrictions here on Legal Aid. (Legal Aid is the help you get here from the state to defend yourself, or to take somebody to court. It was pretty tough anyway but has been toughened further.) So the bottom line is: don’t tangle with the law unless you can afford to do so. The result is that a rich person can use the law far more to their advantage than a poor person. So, the discrimination is very much based of poverty, too.