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Prisoners on Remand

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL14044, tabled on 9 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce the average length of time that prisoners spend on remand awaiting trial.

Answered on

23 March 2021

Judges are prioritising the most urgent cases. We were one of the first among other comparable jurisdictions globally to resume jury trials, and Crown Courts currently list thousands of cases each week.

Our systems show that where a defendant is in custody and had a first hearing in February 2021, most cases are listed for trial in the Crown Court prior to September 2021.

In September 2020, Her Majesty’s Prison Probation Service (HMPPS) began a trial of a dedicated and proactive Bail Information Service (BIS) in several courts and prisons in the North West of England and Wales. This service provides the courts with timely information relating to the defendant and availability of alternative provisions, such as suitable accommodation, to help to reduce unnecessary remands and increase the appropriate use of bail and bail conditions. In tandem with this trial, HMPPS are rolling-out a Covid-19 response BIS in all public sector remand prisons. A key aim of both initiatives is to inform the design, resourcing and delivery of a future dedicated and proactive national BIS.