Publisher: The Howard League for Penal Reform
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The presumption of innocence and the right to liberty are fundamental principles of a fair criminal justice system.
Remanding a person to prison runs contrary to these key notions and should be an exceptional measure. Too often women are inappropriately remanded into custody – almost two-thirds of women remanded to prison by magistrates are either found not guilty or are given a community outcome.
Thousands of women are being sent to prison unnecessarily, damaging them and their families, including the children who depend on them, and piling more pressure on prisons and the wider criminal justice system.
The briefing highlights the need for remand decision-making to be rethought and reformed to enable judges and magistrates to take a distinct approach to women.
In order to make fair and appropriate decisions, judges and magistrates require guidance and good information about the people appearing before them, particularly women, and about the services they can access in the community.
The Howard League for Penal Reform is working for significant legislative and practice reform of remand processes to ensure that women are only remanded to prison in the most exceptional and serious cases.