Write 70 pages thesis on the topic law and practice of remand in custody and bail regarding unsentenced prisoners. It does this in relation to British and international law, including proposals for the future. It also considers the particular needs of certain groups within the remand population. Consideration is given to the reasons behind the present situation of high numbers on remand, in particular those imprisoned on remand. It considers the ways in which suspects are protected both in law and in practice and makes suggestions and recommendations for future practice.
In English law, there is a well-known axiom – innocent until proven guilty. It stems from Latin ‘ ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat’ i.e he who asserts must prove, not he who denies. In modern-day British society people still go along with this idea that guilt must be proved, but in practice, many people are imprisoned long before a guilty verdict is arrived at and in many cases where it is not.
In earlier times imprisonment was a short term solution until a person’s trial, but in the modern world, remand can often mean a very long stay in prison, either because it takes time for the prosecution to fully develop their case, or simply because the courts are so busy or even because of administrative delays due to lack of resources. Modern-day prisons contain, as well as those serving sentences, suspects on remand and those who have been convicted and are awaiting sentencing. The effect is the reverse of the earlier axiom – remand means in too many cases punishment as if guilty until proved innocent. If this wasn’t true why would time in remand later be counted as part of time served?
Like many other countries in the industrialized world the United Kingdom has seen a previously unprecedented rise in the number of people it imprisons, both sentenced and on remand. This results in large economic consequences, but more importantly in unjustified human costs for large numbers of people.