A recruitment campaign in the North of England has seen a record number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates appointed to become Parole Board members.
Following an extensive outreach campaign 53 independent members will join the Board, 48% of whom are from a BAME background.
In separate campaigns, 3 retired judges and 20 psychologists, including 17% from a BAME background, were also appointed from across England and Wales for their specialist skills.
The Board has been calling for a more diverse membership that better reflects the community it serves and brings a mix of perspectives and experience to decision making. It was highlighted in the review undertaken by David Lammy MP that a lack of diversity can impact on confidence and trust in the Criminal Justice System.
Prior to this campaign, fewer than 5% of the Board’s members identified as being from a BAME background. These appointments triple the number and will bring the Board’s BAME diversity to nearly 13%.
Commenting on the success of this campaign, Caroline Corby, Chair of the Parole Board said:
“I am delighted that we have taken significant steps to improve the diversity of our membership. It is vital that we represent the community that we serve to continue to increase public confidence in our decision making.
“This campaign was only the first step and we hope to continue to build on our success when we next recruit, anticipated to be in the Midlands in 2020.”
The role of Parole Board members is to keep the public safe by making impartial, risk-based decisions about the release of prisoners, who have served the punishment part of their sentence. Members will only release someone when they assess that it is safe to do so and when they are satisfied that effective risk management arrangements are in place.
Members come from a variety of backgrounds and are independent public appointees that are selected through a rigorous recruitment process. Once appointed, they will receive extensive training and mentoring to ensure they are properly equipped to make these challenging decisions.