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Remand in Custody: Critical Factors and Key Issues

NCJ Number
Rick Sarre; Sue King; David Bamford
Date Published
May 2006
6 pages
This paper presents summary findings on the critical factors and key issues in the area of custodial remand rates and policies and procedures in both Victoria and South Australia.
Factors associated with increased remand rates included increasing levels of drug and mental health issues and the informal and formal rules that influence police, police custody sergeants, and court bail authorities in their decision to grant bail. Factors associated with lower remand rates included enhanced police accountability for bail refusal, approved feedback loops between courts and police, higher transaction costs for custodial remand, and longer bail hearings. Remand rates resulting from the interaction of personal characteristics of defendants and the policies and practices of decisionmakers can be influenced over time by strategic provision of resources and a change in a jurisdiction’s philosophical approach to remand. The key to understanding the remand in custody process is for researchers to move outside the courtroom and to focus on issues that arise prior to the judicial hearing. Between 1984 and 2004, the proportion of remanded prisoners in Australia rose from 12 to 20 percent of the total prisoner population, and the rate of prisoners remanded into custody tripled. With the number of remand prisoners tripling, this study searched for critical factors that determined and affected the rates at which people entered Australian corrections systems as remandees, searched the effects of any remand strategy, and considered principles of good practice and policy implications. This was accomplished through a literature review, a statistical analysis of correctional data on defendants remanded from 2001 to 2003 in Victoria and South Australia, a qualitative and quantitative analyses of the effects of custodial remand on justice outcomes, and a series of courtroom observations. References