Sixth of prisoners waiting to be tried

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The Independent Online

A sixth of all prisoners held in England and Wales have not been found guilty of any offence or are waiting to be sentenced, says the first report to investigate pre-trial detention across the world.

Figures from the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College London show 13,000 prisoners are on remand, one of the highest levels in Europe. At any one time, across the world, 2,500,000 people are in pre-trial detention and other forms of remand imprisonment.

Rob Allen, director of the International Centre for Prison Studies, said: "Pre-trial detention should be used sparingly yet remand prisoners are often held for excessively long periods in conditions worse than for sentenced prisoners. Excessive use of such imprisonment does nothing to improve public safety."

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust said: "Even this figure [of 13,000] understates the problem. In a year, 50,000 people are remanded to prison. Almost two thirds of women who enter prison do so on remand. Why imprison 50,000 people a year who will be back in court in less than two months [when] one in five will be acquitted and over half will get a community penalty?"