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Remand Prisoners

Volume 300: debated on Monday 10 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current number of prisoners in England and Wales held on remand for a period (a) up to three months, (b) over three months and up to six months, (c) over six months and up to 12 months and (d) over 12 months. [14546]

The latest available provisional information for England and Wales is for 30 June 1997 and is given in the table. This information is also published in successive volumes of "Prison Statistics, England and Wales" (tables 2.3 and 2.4 of the 1996 edition, Cm 3732), copies of which are in the Library.

Remand prisoners in prisons in England and Wales by length of time since first reception1 on 30 June 1997
Time since first remand30 June 19972
Up to and including three months8,100
More than three months, up to and including six months2,300
More than six months, up to and including 12 months1,400
Over 12 months300
Total12,100
1Awaiting trial or sentence. Time since first reception on remand into a Prison Service establishment. This includes any intervening time spent on bail, but excludes time spent in police cells beforehand.
2Rounded provisional estimates.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the potential effects on remand prisoners' rights to a fair trial of arbitrary restrictions in the period leading up to and during their court appearances; what steps he has taken to ensure that the Prison Service is aware of this problem; and what special measures exist for the supervision monitoring of the treatment of prisoners in these circumstances. [13091]

[holding answer 6 November 1997]: It is our policy that detention must not affect a person's right to a fair trial. In recognition of their special status, all unconvicted prisoners have extra privileges such as: the right to wear their own clothing; the right not to work; the right to extra visits, telephone calls and letters; and the right to continue their (legitimate) business activities. In addition, all prisons have legal aid officers and access to unlimited visits with their legal representative. Nearly all local prisons and remand centres have bail information schemes which assist prisoners to obtain bail if appropriate.Both Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons and the Prison Service Standards Audit, on their visits to local prisons, seek to ensure that the rights and privileges of unconvicted prisons are observed.