Report on discrimination in drug offence sentencing

Our thanks to Paul for this email:

Mike, you might be interested in a piece in The Guardian – here. The piece was prompted by this report, which led to this consultation document.

A summary is that an analysis of sentencing for drug offences with respect to sex and ethnicity shows a very large disparity with men far more likely to be sentenced to prison and receiving longer sentences and much smaller but still significant effects that black and ethnic minority men receive longer sentences than white men.

The consultation bizarrely makes no direct reference or proposal with respect to men at all and The Guardian naturally focusses on the racial aspect of this but the biggest effect and it is large is that men are much more likely to receive jail sentences which will on average be longer than women for the same offence and with the same factors taken into account in sentencing.

Not a surprise but good to see it in a report.

There is an anomaly in the data which may mean the effect on men in general is understated. The probability for men receiving an immediate custodial sentence is given as the same as the probability for the racial analysis of white men receiving a custodial sentence and not as you would expect a value between the white male and black and ethnic minority male values. I believe this means that the white male rather than average male value has been used to try to downplay (the in any case huge) difference in treatment of men compared to women.

In the consultation paper it is explicitly stated that there is a requirement for equal treatment but oddly there is no explicit mention or focus on the massive disparity between the treatment of men and women.

Unfortunately there is no raw data so no double checking or further analysis possible.

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