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Number of prisoners yet to be found guilty of a crime hits 50-year high

The number of people in prison who haven't been sentenced or convicted is at the highest number in 50 years. (PA)
The number of people in prison who haven't been sentenced or convicted is at the highest number in 50 years. (PA)

The numbers of prisoners who are facing trial but have yet to be found guilty has reached a 50-year high, new figures show.

There are 14,507 people on remand in England and Wales, a more than 30% increase since before the pandemic.

People on remand are either those who have been charged with a crime but have yet to have their trial in court and been officially found guilty and given a sentence by a judge.

Or they can be prisoners who have had their trial and been found guilty but have not been sentenced.

A court can put a person on remand for a variety of reasons, including if they think the defendant will not appear at their trial or thinks they could commit a crime while on bail.

Between 2016 and the start of the pandemic in 2020, the remand population was below 10,000 but has increased ever since.

Read more: Prison officer who had phone sex with inmates is jailed

The government said the recent barrister's strike has likely contributed to the rise in the number of people on remand. (PA)
The government said the recent barrister's strike has likely contributed to the rise in the number of people on remand. (PA)

The government said recent industrial action by barristers is likely to have also contributed to this record figure.

The untried prison population rose by 15% (to 9,711) when compared to the end of September 2021 while the convicted unsentenced population rose by 5% (to 4,796) over the same period.

The most common prisoners on remand were those accused of violence against another person or people accused of drug offences.

The news comes as police-recorded crime in England and Wales has hit a new high, figures released on Thursdays showed.

A total of 6.5 million crimes were recorded in the 12 months to June 2022, up from the previous all-time high of 6.3 million in the year to March.

Read more: Moment burglar who savagely murdered pensioner, 86, in front of her husband is arrested

General view of category C prison HMP Five Wells in Wellingborough. (PA)
General view of category C prison HMP Five Wells in Wellingborough. (PA)

The figure is also up 12% compared with the year to June 2021, when crime levels were affected by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

The total includes 196,889 sexual offences, up 20% year-on-year from 164,043 and 21% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

There were 70,600 rape offences recorded in the year to June, another record high and an increase of 20% from 59,046 in 2019/20.

The number has nearly doubled in just over six years, from 36,321 in 2015/16.

Domestic abuse related offences totalled 912,181 in the year to June, up 6% on the previous 12 months and up 14% on 2019/20.

Knife crime remains below pre-pandemic levels, mainly because the number of knife-enabled robberies was 27% lower in the year to June compared with 2019/20.

Homicide numbers are also still below pre-pandemic levels, with 679 recorded in the year to June, a drop of 5% on the year to March 2020.