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Prisoner's rights

Before prison: The criminal court process

“Remand in custody”: Being held in prison during your court case

What does being “on remand” mean?

Corrections regulations 2005, regs 3, 186

“Remand” prisoners are prisoners who haven’t been given bail and are in prison while they’re waiting for the next step in their court case (usually for their trial or for sentencing). In other words, these are people who are in prison but not serving a prison sentence.

While you’re on remand you can only be housed with other prisoners who are on remand. You can only be put into the general prison population under exceptional circumstances (for example, if you had your baby with you in prison and were housed in a Mothers with Babies Unit).

Sometimes prisons also have a special unit for remand prisoners who’ve been convicted and who are now waiting to be sentenced. This is called a “CAS” unit (“Conviction awaiting sentence”).

In general, remand prisoners have the same rights and obligations as sentenced prisoners. Often remand prisoners do not have the same access to rehabilitative programmes because their stays are considered to be temporary and short-term.

Does time spent on remand count towards my sentence?

Parole Act 2002, s 90

Yes, time spent in prison on remand counts. So if you’re sentenced to prison, the time you’ve spent in prison on remand is taken off your sentence.

If I’m found not guilty, can I get compensation for the time I spent on remand?

No. Compensation isn’t available for the time you spent in prison on remand unless something very unusual went wrong – for example, if you were held without being charged with a crime, or if you were kept in prison after the courts ordered you to be released.

Even though compensation isn’t available, in some cases you may be able to get the court to order the police or the Crown Law Office (the government prosecutors) to pay for some or all of your legal costs – for example, if their evidence was so weak that they should never have gone ahead with the case, or if there was some bad faith (that is, a dishonest or improper motive) on their part in taking the case against you.

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Before prison: The criminal court process

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