Three-quarters of people remanded in custody by magistrates’ courts in Burnley and across East Lancashire last year did not go on to receive custodial sentences, according to latest figures.
The data, released by the Howard League for Penal Reform shows East Lancashire is ranked 18th in the country in a list of the top 20 areas where the fewest remand prisoners receive custodial sentences.
Last year 157 people in East Lancashire were remanded in custody by magistrates’ courts but only 39 were sentenced to time in prison, meaning 75.2% were either acquitted or given non-custodial sentences.
The reform group said nationally courts wasted an estimated £230m. of taxpayers’ money last year by “needlessly” locking up people on remand.
More than 35,000 people who had been remanded in custody went on to be either acquitted or given non-custodial sentences.
Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, the oldest penal reform charity in the UK, said: “Our prisons are squalid and our prisoners are idle, yet the courts are continuing to remand innocent people and people accused of petty crime at huge public expense.
“It is time to end this unjust system, which is costing the nation money that could be better spent.”