Children, Racism and the Criminal Legal System

Highlights from the seminar held in Bristol on 9th May 2024

Systemic and institutional racism impacts Black, Brown and Racialised children at every stage of the criminal justice system, regardless of whether they are victims, witnesses or the accused.

Lawyers need strategies to call out racism, while ensuring that we do not perpetuate those same harms. We need a representational model that counters and challenges the immense power imbalance currently facing Black, Brown and Racialised children.

Watch the highlights of this seminar featuring Remi Joseph- Salisbury and Aika Stephenson. 

Remi Joseph-Salisbury

Remi Joseph-Salisbury is Reader in Sociology at the University of Manchester, with interests in the study of racisms and antiracisms, particularly in the contexts of education and policing. He is a steering group member of the Northern Police Monitoring Project, a police abolitionist group based in Greater Manchester, the No Police in Schools campaign, and a member of the Centre of Dynamics on Ethnicity (CoDE).

Remi has written on issues including the policing of Afro-textured hair in schools, the presence of police in schools, the policing of the pandemic, police abolition, the securitisation of university campuses, and the enduring nature of racism in British education.

He is co-author of Anti-Racist Scholar-Activism (2021), co-editor of The Fire Now: Anti-racism in Times of Explicit Racial Violence (2018) and author of Black Mixed Race Men (2018, Emerald Publishing).

Aika Stephenson

Aika is a director of the Youth Justice Legal Centre. She founded Just for Kids Law alongside Shauneen Lambe in 2006 and remains the Legal Director. She is a solicitor and youth justice expert with 20 years experience representing young people in criminal proceedings. Aika started her career working for the Children’s Society at Feltham Young Offenders Institute as an Advocate before going on to Westminster Youth Offending Team.

Aika represents young people at every stage of the criminal justice system, from the police station to the Supreme Court. She is driven by a determination to bring about systemic change that benefits all children and young people caught up in the criminal justice system.

Aika has pioneered employing cutting-edge arguments to ensure she gets the best possible results for her young clients, particularly those with special educational needs. She has had a high level of success using the Modern Slavery Act to ensure that vulnerable young people who have been groomed by gangs into selling drugs are recognised as victims, rather than treated as offenders and offers practical insights into how to develop an anti-racist practice.