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Inmate Perspective on the Remand Crisis in Canada

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume: 51 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2009 Pages: 355-379
Michael Weinrath
Date Published
July 2009
25 pages
This study examined the dramatic escalation in the use of pre-trial detention in Canada.
Findings suggest that the rise in Canada is likely due to increased time to trial and more vigorous suppression activity by the criminal justice system and its agents. While the provision of two-for-one pre-sentence credit may have some influence, the data indicate that many accused are not content to sit in custody in the hopes of gaining some benefits at sentence and only desire a swift trial and a resolution to their charges. Results only partially supported claims made by criminal justice agents about the misuses of two-for-one by inmates. A proportion of respondents acknowledged use of the two-for-one to delay or postpone their trials or had had this practice identified by their peers. Respondents were also very concerned about the time it took to get to trial. Most inmates wished to have their cases heard expeditiously, but preliminary hearing and trial dates were not set quickly in the province where the study was conducted. In support of the inmates responses, findings suggest that speedier trials are the most logical and fairest solution to Canada's remand problem. Committing more resources to get cases processed more quickly is a political question, and regrettably getting support from Provincial or Federal governments would be difficult. Other concerns expressed by the inmates are provided in detail. Data were collected from 226 subjects in custody at a Provincial correctional center between December 2006 and January 2007. Tables, figure, notes, and references