HC Deb 03 December 1987 vol 123 cc675-6W
17. Mr. Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with custodial arrangements for prisoners on remand; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten

No, which is why, in addition to other measures, we have started on the biggest building and refurbishment programme of prisons this century, provided for further bail hostels places, built new courts, appointed additional judges and set time limits on the remand period before trial.

21. Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average time spent on remand in custody awaiting trial at the latest date for which information is available.

Mr. John Patten

The average number of days spent in custody by untried prisoners received in 1986 was 57 for males and 44 for females.

40. Mr. Hayes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on measures to reduce the remand population.

Mr. John Patten

The size of the remand population is affected both by increasing use of remands in custody and increases in the time taken to deal with cases. We are taking action on both fronts. Work is being done by the probation service and the Vera Institute of Justice on providing magistrates with better information on defendants through bail information schemes. Resources are being provided over the next three financial years for about nine new bail hostels. On the time taken to deal with cases, we have urged magistrates and their clerks to concentrate on efforts to reduce delays. The management information system which we are introducing to the service will assist courts to monitor their performance. We have also introduced statutory time limits on custody cases in pilot areas. We hope to extend this next year. The Criminal Justice Bill's proposals to allow courts in certain circumstances to remand a defendant in custody for up to 28 days should lead to a reduction in the number of fruitless remand hearings.

Back to