The #SewellReport really is a verbose, sloppy and intellectually dishonest piece of work. In the bits I know about (drugs and crime), there is a pattern of misleading readers by mischaracterising the sources it cites. Here are some examples. 1/n
To back a claim that cannabis is a 'gateway' drug, it cites a 2002 ACMD report. Here's what a later (2008) ACMD report says on the issue
To support the idea that stop and search works, they rely on a study in the BJC . While this study found a small association with lower recorded drug crime, it conclude, 'claims that this is an effective way to control and deter offending seem misplaced'.…
In discussing the link between race, crime and violent victimisation, the Commission write that age and deprivation explains much of the difference between ethnic groups. The cited report actually shows the disparity is not washed away by deprivation.…
Perhaps most egregiously, they misrepresent the words of Dame Angiolini in her report on deaths in custody (a report which repeatedly mentions the institutional racism of which Sewell's Commission denies the existence). Here is their quote of her words...
Here are her own words. Judge for yourself if the quote was deliberately cut to change its meaning.
To be fair, there are also citations that check out (e.g. to this study of the lack of racial bias in jury decisions).…
But there are lots of other relevant research which they did not include in their blizzard of references, presumably because it did not fit their argument. E.g. this report on the lack of effectiveness of increased stop and search…
In its combination of loads of 'scientific' references, odd jumps to moralising, and misrepresentation of its sources, the #SewellReport reminds me of an old @CPSThinkTank report. Does anyone know if any CPS or CJS start helped Sewell write it?…
This comment in a trenchant critique of the #SewellReport from a @bmj_latest blog also applies to its sections on crime.…
And if you're interested in examples of how the report repeatedly undermines its own arguments with the data it present, which it then misinterprets...

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More from @AlexStevensKent

31 Mar
If not by institutional racism, then how can the commission explain ongoing disadvantage in the criminal justice system, employment, housing, school exclusions?
The report apparently states “We found that most of the disparities we examined, which some attribute to racial discrimination, often do not have their origins in racism.” Which is pretty close to MacPherson's definition of *institutional* racism.
The commission tries to minimise the existence of institutional racism by re-defining it. Note that Macpherson's definition included 'unwitting prejudice, thoughtlessness, ignorance'. Their new definition is more about direct discrimination. Image
Read 4 tweets
6 Oct 19
I have resigned from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Recent political vetting and
exclusion of suitably qualified applicants to join means that the ACMD is losing its independence. A thread to explain follows…
After the unjustified dismissal of @ProfDavidNutt in 2009, several ACMD members resigned. A
working protocol was put in place to protect the independence of the ACMD from ministerial
The independence of the ACMD was a big factor in my deciding to apply to join in 2014. Please note that members of the ACMD are not paid by the government for their work – it is done in members’ own time, or in time paid for by their employer (for me, it was a mixture of both)
Read 12 tweets

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