Tag Archive: black

BAME women face “double disadvantage” in criminal justice system

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Women are more likely than men to be remanded and then not receive a custodial sentence

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women face a “double disadvantage” in the criminal justice system, according to a new report.

BAME women told researchers from Agenda and Women in Prison that they felt discriminated against through the courts and in prison.

The report, based on focus group interviews with women in prison and in the community was undertaken to help inform the Lammy Review into racial bias in the criminal justice system.

The report found that BAME women felt:

  •         They were not treated fairly in court and were unjustly penalised by judges and juries, who they felt were often made up of white men.
  •         They were not listened to or informed about court proceedings, e.g. only one woman out of 20 knew whether she had had a pre-sentence report or not.
  •         They were discriminated against and experienced racism in prison from both staff and other prisoners.
  •         The impact on families was far-reaching, with children often separated from their mothers.
  •         Some women were ostracised by their communities after being sent to prison.

Women are more likely than men to be remanded and then not receive a custodial sentence.

Evidence suggests BAME women face further discrimination, with black women much more likely than white women to be given custodial sentences for the same offences.

Katharine Sacks-Jones, Director of Agenda, said: “BAME women face a double disadvantage; discriminated against because of both their gender and ethnicity.

“Sexism, racism or unconscious bias should have no part in the criminal justice system.

“That is why it is imperative that steps are taken to ensure fairness throughout the process.”

Agenda and Women in Prison are calling for a focus on the distinct experiences of BAME women across the criminal justice system; with a reduction in the use of remand and custodial sentences and a greater emphasis on community based support for BAME women instead.

They want racism stamped out in prisons, with efforts made to recruit staff who reflect the gender and ethnicity of those they work with.

Steps should also be taken to ensure contact is maintained between BAME women and their families, especially children, while they are in prison.

Dr Kate Paradine, CEO of Women in Prison, said: “The troubling accounts of discrimination and injustice of the women who spoke out as part of this research are more evidence of a completely broken system.

“The answer to the crisis in women's prisons lies not in building more prisons, but in making sure effective community alternatives like women's centres are in place.

“This is how women can address the multiple disadvantages that often bring them to the criminal justice system, cutting reoffending rates and helping to bring the women's prison population down.”

Today (APRIL 21st) David Lammy MP, Chair of the Lammy Review, is holding a discussion with a panel of experts to look at the issues raised in the report.

He said: “I have been to prisons, courts and communities up and down the country to gather evidence to inform my Review.

“As part of this I have frequently heard accounts of disproportionate sentencing for minority ethnic groups, who receive longer prison terms than white offenders.

“The findings of the Double Disadvantage research published today again highlight this as a worrying trend, and one which includes BAME women.

“I will be exploring these repeated patterns further before making my final report and recommendations to the Prime Minister this summer.”

Black and Asian cancer survivors feature in new film about cancers

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EXPERT’S VIEW: Dr Jhumur Pati, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Barts Health NHS Trust says that cancers can be more treatable if caught early

EXPERT’S VIEW: Dr Jhumur Pati, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Barts Health NHS Trust says that cancers can be more treatable if caught early

Film highlights key cancer symptoms   

As part of Public Health England’s latest ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign, Black and Asian cancer survivors, alongside doctors, feature in a new film which aims to increase awareness of the key symptom for both bladder and kidney cancers – blood in urine.

Around 17,450 people in England are diagnosed with either bladder or kidney cancer every year, and around 7,600 people die annually[1]

Consultant urologists from Barts Health NHS Trust, Jhumur Pati and Professor Frank Chinegwundoh OBE highlight the importance of an early diagnosis and discuss the cultural issues that can delay Black and South Asian people from seeing their doctor early.

Jhumur Pati, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Barts Health NHS Trust said: “There is often a strong fear of cancer, and a perception that cancer is an incurable disease that quickly leads to death.

“[However], we know that bladder and kidney cancers are more treatable if they are found early.

“Some prefer to see a spiritualist rather than going to see their doctor or self-treat symptoms with herbal remedies.

“There is nothing wrong with seeing a spiritualist [but] I would encourage those who notice blood in their urine, even if it’s just the once, to visit their doctor straight away.”

Professor Frank Chinegwundoh OBE, Barts Health NHS Trust said: “Blood in the urine can be caused by a variety of bladder or kidney problems.

BEATING CANCER: Mrs Jyoti Howe, a bladder cancer survivor, who featured in the film

BEATING CANCER: Mrs Jyoti Howe, a bladder cancer survivor, who featured in the film

“Most of them are not serious but it can be an early sign of  bladder or kidney cancer so should not be ignored.

“Blood in urine is a symptom in most bladder cancers and almost a fifth of kidney cancers. Early diagnosis and treatment of bladder and kidney cancer is crucial, so being aware of the symptoms and knowing to go to your doctor straight away could save you or your loved one’s life.”

For those diagnosed at the earliest stage - stage 1-  the likelihood of surviving five years or more can be as high as 84 per cent for kidney cancer and 77 per cent for bladder cancer.

However, for those diagnosed at a late stage - stage 4 - survival is as low as only 10 per cent for kidney cancer and 9 per cent for bladder cancer.

Mrs Jyoti Howe, bladder cancer survivor featured in the film said: “I was fit with a healthy lifestyle, going to the gym and doing yoga when I noticed blood in my urine.

“I had no idea that blood in urine was a key symptom of bladder cancer but I realised that I needed to get medical help straightaway. When they told me I had bladder cancer I thought they must have got it wrong, it’s a mistake.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t a mistake but luckily it was caught early and I was successfully treated. Having cancer has changed my outlook on life, before I took life for granted, now I make the most of it.

“I know cancer is still seen as a taboo in the Asian community but I’m living proof that bladder cancer is more treatable if caught early. It’s so important to act quickly when you notice blood in your urine, don’t ignore it thinking it will go away. See your doctor without delay.”

The film can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1U6Xd4y and will be aired across Black and Asian TV channels during March. For further information about the signs and symptoms of bladder and kidney cancers, please visit nhs.uk/bloodinpee.

A distressing time for Landlords?

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The remedy of Distress for Rent allows a landlord to enter a tenanted property and seize goods until any outstanding rent is paid. If the rent is not paid, then the landlord is entitled to sell the goods and use the proceeds to discharge the unpaid rent. This ancient remedy is frequently used by landlords to apply effective pressure on tenants where rent is unpaid.

However, in order to address the perceived imbalance between the rights of landlords and tenants, a new statutory regime known as Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) will come into force on 6 April 2014. The major changes to the existing regime are as follows:-

• CRAR can only be undertaken by certificated enforcement agents (bailiffs).

• The tenant must be given 7 days’ notice in writing before the bailiff takes control of any goods.

• The notice must be hand-delivered to the tenant.

• The 7 days notice period does not include Sundays, Bank Holidays, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

• The written notice must contain details of the debt, the amount outstanding including interest and enforcement fees plus any additional costs of enforcement in the event that the outstanding amount remains unpaid.

• The bailiff can attend at the property to take control of goods on any day of the week between the hours of 6am and 9pm.

• If the tenant’s business operates outside the hours of 6am and 9pm then the bailiff can attend at any time when the business is in operation.

• CRAR only applies to commercial rent and cannot be used if any part of the property is residential.

• Only rent arrears can be recovered as part of CRAR.

• In order to use CRAR, a minimum of 7 days’ unpaid rent will be necessary

The main point of concern for landlords is the requirement to give 7 days’ notice before any action can be taken to secure the tenant’s goods. If it is likely that the tenant will remove goods from the premises, the landlord can first seek an order from the Court dispensing with the requirement to provide notice to the tenant. In the event that obtaining such an Order is not possible, there is a significant risk that an unscrupulous tenant would deliberately remove items from the premises in order to frustrate the process.
Whilst the new regime provides greater protection to tenants, it does significantly weaken the position of landlords, to whom the current regime of Distress of Rent can be a useful and effective mechanism of obtaining payment of outstanding rents.

We at Blacks deal with all aspects of Commercial Property law, to include the drafting of leases and advising on any disputes which may arise including unpaid rent.

Please contact Luke Patel on 0113 227 9316 or by email at LPatel@LawBlacks.com