A CHURCH which stands in the shadow of HM Prison Birmingham is sending a petition to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to order a national inquiry into why so many young men of African Caribbean descent are in prison.
The unprecedented move by members of the Church of God of Prophecy in Winson Green, Birmingham was prompted by a sermon on the subject by Bishop Dr Joe Aldred, who is also a BBC broadcaster and writer.
The subject of his sermon at the Aberdeen Street church asked: “Why are so many young black men in prison and what can the church do?”
It highlighted startling statistics which reveal that while the African and Caribbean population in the UK remains at approximately three per cent, the proportion of the prison population varies between 13 and 22 per cent.
For several years Labour MP Diane Abbott has voiced her concern over this issue, pointing that some prisons in the south east of the country were ‘almost entirely black’.
Bishop Paul McCalla, of the Aberdeen Street church, told 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.
“After hearing what was a very strong and stirring sermon we had collected 150 names straight off to send to Mr Cameron.
“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.”
He continued: “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 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.
By Poppy Brady UK 2013