§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken since January 1982 to reduce the number of unconvicted prisoners, in view of the fact that some 5,000 persons who have not been found guilty or tried have been in prison for periods of between one month and more than 12 months.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The recent report of the Home Office working group on magistrates' courts contains recommendations and suggestions which could assist magistrates' courts to reduce their waiting times and hence the length of time for which unconvicted persons remanded in custody remain in prison. Copies of the report have been sent to all clerks to justices with an indication of my right hon. Friend's hope that they will study it carefully. The efforts being made by my right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor and by the Lord Chief Justice to improve the pace of business in the higher courts continue to make progress and waiting times are being reduced.