Concerns about the increased use of remand amongst children

Date: 18th June 2021
Category: Child justice system

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When a person accused of an offence first appears in court, the judge decides whether they will be released on bail or remanded into custody. For many people, being remanded into custody is their first experience of prison.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a significant rise of remand in Scotland, with the delay in trials causing the remand prison population to climb from 982 to 1,753 between April 2020 and April 2021. By the end of this period, 42.6% of young people aged 16-20 in prison were on remand. The statistics for under 18’s is even higher, with the 94% of under 18’s held in remand in young offenders institutes or prisons during April 2021

Those in remand have limited opportunity to engage with support services, such as education and rehabilitation programmes, have their physical and mental health, employment, housing, and family relationships negatively affected. Additionally, remand causes financial repercussions for the individual if they are subsequently acquitted or receive a non-custodial sentence. 

Howard League Scotland’s report looks at possible alternatives to remand, such as:

  • Supervised and supported bail
  • Electronic monitoring
  • Community-based bail accommodation

Read this research on the use of remand in Scotland here.

Discover more stats on the use of remand for under 18’s from Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice here.