FOUNDER FIRST BAME & ALLIES Magistrates support group in Avon & Somerset

Cllr Dr Carole Johnson JP AND….. Founder!

As Local councillor for Ashley Ward in Bristol and current Magistrates Deputy Bench Chairman for Avon and Somerset and a sitting magistrate of Jamaican descent.

I am delighted to announce as the FOUNDER and Chair …..

The successful launch, of the very first Magistrates Black Asian and Ethnic Minority & Allies support group which took place last night on the 22nd APRIL 2021!!!

You may ask …Why I say “FOUNDER”?

The first reason is from my original, suggestion regarding this in 2017, to the launch yesterday, on the 22nd APRIL 2021, it has taken a staggering …..4 years … see it come to fruition….!!!!

You may also ask Why? Isn’t there a need?…Ans : yes there is!

So why so long?

Simply put…it has never been done before!

This is not only the first Magistrates Black Asian and Ethnic Minority & Allies support group here in Bristol or Avon & Somerset (my region) but it is the first ever….in the United Kingdom!

This has been an extraordinary journey. Other benches across the UK are watching to see what happens now/next.

The Magistrates association are waiting for me to write an article which will be published nationally on this.

As if we didnt know already but research shows that racial diversity actively improves effectivity efficiency and productivity. This is great news for the communities that we are serving.

Again, I would like to congratulate the Mayor Marvin Rees and Deputy Mayor Asher Craig who supported the original BAME Magistrates recruitment programmes so magnificently.

It has not been easy…..

I would also like to congratulate the judiciary in the Avon & Somerset for working together in partnership to address the clearly identified under representations at some of the tables of decision within the Criminal Justice System.

We already have a list of offers from speakers for our future meetings, which is really exciting from all parts of the CJS. Including offers to further promote and increase representation in youth courts to address under representation of BAME Magistrates and begin a process of looking at and addressing the impact of race. We have judges who have recognised youth magistrates in Bristol are predominantly white, serving a population who are not, sharing our concern that this may/does affect the length of sentencing/conviction of BAME youth. Innovative proactive ideas are already being generated, e.g. the exploration of BAME magistrates being offered secondment. Still yet to be explored, but considering we started this particular part of the journey last night….it’s exciting.

All Magistrates who attended last night…made history by being there…

Avon & Somerset Magistrates Bench….is also making history by addressing this in such a a way …

Reasons to be cheerful! That’s me….Cllr Dr Carole Johnson JP THE FOUNDER of

The United Kingdom’s very first ever …Magistrates Black Asian and Ethnic Minorities & Allies support group.

Deputy Lord Mayor,

Cllr Carole A J Johnson, PHD.

Deputy Cabinet Member for Equalities, Communities and Public Health.

Labour Councillor for Ashley Ward | Bristol City Council

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