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Disparities and discrimination in the European Union's criminal legal systems

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In this briefing, we show how discrimination in our systems of justice in Europe manifests beyond policing and is seen at all levels of criminal legal systems.

We provide background about the extent and nature of disparities, from the start of the criminal legal process through to sentencing. Criminalisation and lapses in procedural protections for people of colour are widespread and start at the very beginning—when it is so important that people’s procedural rights are protected.

As a result of these procedural rights gaps and inadequate national legislation, people of colour across Europe are held in pre-trial detention far too often and for far too long. This and other practices mean that people of colour have worse outcomes in the system: they face longer sentences, do not receive non-custodial sentences as often, and more.

We hope to engage with EU stakeholders about the role they can play in addressing these issues.

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