Court custody Expectations

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This is the second version of Expectations for detainees in court custody, the standards by which we inspect outcomes for detainees in court custody facilities and the transfer of detainees to and from those facilities. Court custody inspections form part of a wider range of inspections, including police custody, prisons and immigration removal centres. These Expectations allow us to fulfil our responsibility to deliver independent and objective assessments of outcomes for detainees in court custody facilities. This is in accordance with the UK’s responsibilities as signatory to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Expectations for detainees in court custody sets out the framework and criteria used by HMI Prisons to assess court custody arrangements and the outcomes for those detained in court custody facilities. The expectations were drawn up after consultation and are based on and referenced against relevant international and regional human rights standards They also draw on the cumulative learning of our court custody inspections to date and best practice.

The Expectations will be used to assess the treatment of and conditions for those transported to and from and those held in court custody facilities in the UK. It also offers a guide to the public, HMCTS, HMPPS and the private contractors that work in court custody facilities to the outcomes for detainees that we expect to see.

The expectations are grouped into five inspection areas:

  • Leadership and multi-agency relationships
  • Transfer to court custody
  • In the custody suite: reception processes, individual needs and legal rights
  • In the custody cell, safeguarding and health care
  • Release and transfer from court custody.

Expectations set out the outcome we expect court custody agencies to achieve.

Indicators suggest evidence that may demonstrate whether the outcomes have been met. Agencies do not have to meet each indicator; the list is not exhaustive and does not exclude other means of achieving the outcome.

This version of the Expectations takes effect from March 2020.

Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons