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Scottish Labour Calls For Review Of Remand Prisoners’ Deaths

After a recent analysis revealed that remanded prisoners were more likely to die than those serving sentences, Scottish Labour have requested a full government review.

Statistics show that remanded prisoners comprise a small percentage of the prison population (18%), but account for 27% of deaths reported within the past decade. Suicide is listed as the most common cause of death.

The following factors are used to determine whether a suspect should be held in remand:

  • • they have been charged with a serious crime
  • • they present a risk of reoffending while on bail
  • • they are judged to be a danger to the witnesses or other members of the public
  • • and / or it is likely that they will not return for the trial.

Bail laws in Scotland have been re-examined and strengthened over recent years, offering harsher penalties to suspects who breach the conditions of their bail.

While remand is appropriate for many cases, government officials and legal professionals have questioned whether it always justified.

Unlike convicted inmates, those on remand are awaiting trial and yet to receive a guilty verdict. Statistics further show that many of those held on remand do not go on to receive custodial sentences.

The following statement was released by Labour MSP and Justice Spokesperson, Daniel Johnston: “Remand is being used too frequently, with all the resulting disruption to work, family and routine.”

Johnston, with the support of Scottish Labour, calls for this issue to be further addressed.

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