The number of individuals on remand in Scotland has risen from 16 per cent to 27 per cent. Emma Jardine of Howard League Scotland stated that this increase is ‘unfathomable’. 
The Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill seeks to extend the statutory time limit by 180 days. As a result, this means that those charged with a crime can be held in remand for almost one year. 
Ms Jardine advised that the proposal was backed in order to help deal with the criminal backlog of cases. However, MSPs have been warned that the remand periods may potentially breach human rights legislation.
She stated: “We are in danger of breaching Article Six, ‘everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time’. There are serious human rights safeguards being called into question by this.”
It was advised that alternatives to custody should receive increased funding. She stated: “It’s already been acknowledged that we need to do something about this quickly and it needs to be something of significance.”
It was also acknowledged that Scotland’s remand rates are much higher than that of England and Wales. It was considered that the system should make better use of non-custodial bail options.