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Unconvicted Prisoners in Australia - A Study of the Structure of Remand Populations in Eight Jurisdictions

NCJ Number
D Biles
Date Published
36 pages
The results of the 1982 and 1983 Australian prison censuses are used to examine remandee characteristics and to analyze intake and length of stay in each jurisdiction.
The most common offense leading to remand in custody was breaking and entering, followed by robbery and homicide. Over 12 percent of remandees had been in custody over 6 months, and more serious offenses tended to be associated with lengthier remand periods. Over half the remandees had prior prison experience. For Australia as a whole, there was no evidence of racial (Aborigines) discrimination in the bail/remand decisionmaking process. Finally, the proportion of remandees with a prior address of interstate, overseas, or no fixed abode was higher than the equivalent proportion of sentenced prisoners. Remand populations in different Australian jurisdictions varied considerably in the extent to which they were influenced by a high intake or slow processing through the courts. The Northern Territory, New South Wales, Western Australia, and South Australia had remand rates consistently higher than the national average. Remand rates in Queensland, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory were relatively low. Evidence suggests that greater efforts are needed to reduce the average time spent in custody for remandees in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia, while the major problem appears to be high intake in South Australia and the Northern Territory. There also may be room to reduce intake figures in New South Wales.


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