Call over remand prisoner treatment
2 Aug 2012 0

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has advocated a change in the way defendants are held on remand in prison to ensure places are not used unnecessarily.

A prison place costs £40,000 per year on average and around 12,000 to 13,000 prisoners are held on remand for an average of nine weeks. And Nick Hardwick says that a recent review shows these people receive less support than convicted prisoners.

“Far from being treated more favourably, this thematic review has shown that they all too often receive less support and help than convicted and sentenced prisoners,” he said.

“This is not just a question of addressing injustice in the treatment of the individuals concerned, but ensuring that costly prison places are not used unnecessarily and that everyone is given the chance to leave prison less likely to commit offences than when they arrived.”

The study is based on inspection reports from 33 local prisons, fieldwork in five different jails and focus groups with both remand prisoners and managers. And the findings indicate prison rules are outdated and there is an “unresolved disjuncture” between rules and reality.

Mr Hardwick added that remand prisoners have a higher risk of suicide and poorer access to services and he insists an overhaul is needed to ensure they are not taking costly places and they are given the same help as convicted prisoners.

“The specific circumstances and needs of remanded prisoners need to be much more clearly and consistently recognised so that they are held in custody for the shortest time possible and while there are given at least the same support as convicted and sentenced prisoners,” he added.