Racism & The Criminal Justice System with Dr Sohom Das, Forensic Psychiatrist
Today’s guest is Dr Sohom Das. Sohom is a Consultant Forensice Psychiatrist working in prisons and criminal courts. He’s also an author.
Initially Sohom was going to talk to us about psychiatry and mental health in more general terms, but given the conversations going on all around us about ingrained racism in British society, we decided to focus on asking questions about this in relation to the criminal justice system and mental health systems, both of which are areas that obvious Sohom has experience of as a forensic psychiatrist.
Those from black communities are disproportionately represented in both the criminal justice system and the mental health systems. And that’s compounded by the fact that both of those systems seriously disadvantage black people once they are within their remit.
Institutional racism exists at every level of our criminal justice system.
Firstly, black Britons make up 12% of the prison population even though their proportion in the general population is 3%
Black communities are over-represented at every single stage of the criminal justice process from initial contact right through to sentencing. Black people are more likely to get stopped and searched, more likely to get arrested, more likely to get charged and more likely to get convicted than their white contemporaries.
Within the mental health system (we know that the criminal justice system can act as a gateway to it so the two are very much linked), the overwhelming evidence is that black patients’ experiences are more negative than those of white patients - they are more likely to be restrained, isolated and heavily medicated than be supported with counselling.
More reading & links related to topics discussed in this episode:
Petition to update GCSE reading list https://bit.ly/2U6foOl
Afua Hirsch On The Crucial Black History Lessons All Schools Should be Teaching for Vogue: https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/black-history-education
More about Dr Sohom Das:
. Twitter: @Dr_S_Das https://twitter.com/Dr_S_Das
. Media website: http://www.drdas.co.uk
. Short stories: https://www.sdas-author.com
More about Aimee Cooper:
More about Louise Daniels: