UK Church asks British PM why so many blacks are in jail
In an issue of controversy in Britain, Europe and America the question of why, disproportionately, so many non-whites are in jail is raised again by a top Pentecostal black Bishop
Opening up an issue that continues to divide societies across the Western world, British Prime Minister David Cameron has been asked a stark question about the statistically disproportionate numbers of black people in Britain's jails by a Pentecostal Bishop representing one of Britain's oldest black churches in the country's second biggest city, Birmingham.
Academic and political debate centres on whether the disproportion is due to disproportionate crime, racism among law enforcement agencies, the social conditions which give rise to crime, or, very sensitively, cultural dispositions related to whether people who feel excluded from the societal game have an obligation to obey the rules of that game.
In Britain, the Afro-Caribbean population -- the usual description in the UK; while in America it is usual to say African-American -- represents a mere three percent of the population. The prison population, however, for Afro-Caribbeans fluctuates between 15 and 25 percent, with a rolling average of around 20 percent.
Bishop Paul McCalla, of the Aberdeen Street church in Birmingham England, which is in close proximity to Her Majesty's Prison Birmingham, was reported as telling a leading British Afro-Caribbean newspaper, The Voice: “This is an issue that we as a church are very concerned about, so rather than just talking about it we decided to do something that would draw attention to this very serious matter.
"Being so close to HM Prison Birmingham we have a very strong prison ministry. So many of our young people are locked away there and it affects our local community economically and socially.”
“The effects of this are very far reaching with many young people blighted for life, not just in Birmingham but across the UK. We believe some kind of intervention is required at Government level and we hope the Prime Minister will respond to us about this.”
The Voice added that: "The Church of God of Prophecy in Britain is part of an international network of Pentecostal churches. This year it celebrates its 60th anniversary in Britain as one of the oldest Black-led churches in the country."
Prime Minister Cameron has yet to respond.
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