asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he will give the grounds which led his Department to suggest in paragraph 8 of the consultation document, "Remands in Custody", that the courts escort scrutiny report's sample of 400 prisoners over-represented long-term prisoners, and that the report's estimate of the average length of remands in custody exceeded the Home Office's estimates; and whether he will recalculate the savings to be expected from the proposal advanced in the consultation document on the basis of an appropriate sample;(2) whether, in relation to the courts escorts scrutiny report, he will provide details as to how the sample of 400 prisoners was selected, giving informations about the sampling method and the population from which the sample was drawn.
I understand that the sample of 401) prisoners in the court escort scrutiny report was chosen from the prison population in March 1985 rather than from receptions of prisoners on remand over a specific period. If no special allowance were made, the court escort scrutiny sample would therefore include a higher proportion of defendants remanded in custody for long periods. The more recent analysis referred to in paragraph 8 of the consultation document comes from the results of a sample of about 2,750 people whose cases were completed in magistrates' courts in three weeks between June 1985 and February 1986. The most recent analysis of data from this sample was published in Home Office statistical bulletin 5/1987, a copy of which is in the Library. No estimates have been made of savings which could occur on the basis of a different sample, since it was judged that any variations in the available estimates are small and do not affect the main conclusions of the survey that many remand appearances were unproductive of any useful results as regards the expedition of the case.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state, in respect of the most convenient recent year or other appropriate period, the number of persons who, an their appearance in a magistrates' court, having been remanded in custody on the previous occasions, were disposed of respectively by (a) trial, (b) committal, (c) further remand in custody for one week or less, or (d) who exercised an option under section 59 of the Criminal Justice Act 1982, providing the figures for each of the above four categories separately in respect of appearances in court on the second, third, fourth and subsequent occasion as applicable up to the twelfth.
The information collected centrally relates to the final court appearance only and whether or not the person was remanded in custody by magistrates at any time before this appearance. Table 8·7 of the annual Command Paper "Criminal Statistics England and Wales" gives information on the disposal, of those remanded in custody by magistrates courts. More detailed information is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will provide the most recent information available about the extent to which defendants take up the option under section 59 of the Criminal Justice Act 1982 not to appear at certain remand hearings; and whether he will provide figures showing the take up by length of remand period and by area.
The results reported in Home Office research and planning unit paper 34 "Remands In The Absence Of The Accused", published in 1985, showed that between one third and one half of opportunities to be remanded in absence were taken up. Similar results are contained in the report of the court escort scrutiny. Information on take up by length of remand period and by area is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish the findings of the courts escorts scrutiny committee separately for summary and committal cases, showing the number of prisoners in their sample of 400 who were bailed at their second, third, fourth and subsequent appearances.
This information is not available and could not be provided without disproportionate cost.