1: Introduction

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The Effective Bail Scheme (EBS) operated in ten courts in Yorkshire and Humberside between 2006–10. It was originally funded from the Treasury Invest to Save Budget which funded innovative projects which forged partnerships to improve the quality and cost effectiveness of public services. It provided bail support for adult defendants to divert defendants from custodial remands, increase court attendance rates and compliance with bail conditions and reduce alleged offending on bail. The scheme provided accommodation and used volunteer mentors. The research relating to the process evaluation of the Effective Bail Scheme pilot was funded by the Ministry of Justice.

Inevitably for a project of this kind which included an action research element, practices and procedures evolved and developed during the life time of the project. This report provides a snapshot of the scheme during the first 18 months of its operation between November 2006 and June 2008 after which the scheme moved on and developed further until it ended in June 2010. The purpose of this book is to provide a comprehensive picture of the operation of the EBS project in its first 18 months using quantitative and qualitative data. Before exploring the evaluation findings in detail in subsequent chapters, this chapter provides an overview of the prison remand population and bail law and practice with the aim of contextualising later discussions about the EBS and the provision of bail support more generally.

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