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Challenging spiralling remand in custody rates: what legal and procedural changes can address the trend?

Rick Sarre (School of Law, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice

ISSN: 2056-3841

Article publication date: 19 September 2016




The purpose of this paper is to draw to the attention of parliamentarians and policy-makers the specific vulnerabilities of applicants for bail that need to be addressed if there are to be any answers to the current malaise.


Almost a quarter of the adult prison population in Australia is made up of persons imprisoned awaiting trial. By looking at current data and recent research findings, the paper reveals that there persists in Australia great unevenness in remand distributions by jurisdiction.


The paper explains why there are differences in remand rates across Australia and why they are rising and draws from more recent snapshots that complement these findings from comprehensive studies conducted a decade ago.

Practical implications

Furthermore it examines ideas floated in the last decade by academics and practitioners keen to lower remand rates and to bring some uniformity to the process while keeping intact the two key (yet potentially contradictory) aims of the remand in custody system: the safety of the community and the presumption of innocence.


The paper’s findings will appeal to parliamentarians and policy-makers tasked with bringing about law reform in the field, as well as police leaders, correctional advisors and students of the legal process.



Sarre, R. (2016), "Challenging spiralling remand in custody rates: what legal and procedural changes can address the trend?", Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 196-205.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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