Bail system report: balancing support for kids and protection for communities

May 09, 2017 |

Smart Justice for Young People (SJ4YP) acknowledges the report reviewing Victoria’s bail system, and its effort to find a balanced approach to protecting the community from violence and reducing the number of young people held in custody on remand.

Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan makes a number of recommendations that will likely result in higher levels of remand for people charged with serious and violent offences, such as carjackings and home invasions. However, Coghlan also appreciates that it is ‘untenable to just remand more and more people’, particularly for non-violent crime.

‘Locking up people in crowded facilities for minor offences can cause serious damage, particularly among children,’ SJ4YP Convenor Tiffany Overall said.

‘These kids often have their charges dismissed and then return to their communities –  but in what state?’

‘It’s in the community’s best interest that we invest in alternatives to remand, which actually work to keep us all much safer.’

‘We welcome the focus in the report to steer kids away from the system, wherever possible.’

The State Government’s recent commitments to a Remand Court in the Children’s Court will go some way to helping to reduce numbers in remand, with expedited processes, expanded bail supervision and other supports.

‘Young people have a remarkable capacity to reform their behaviour and become respected community members, when given the right support,’ Ms Overall said.

‘We’re pleased to see the report call for further investment by Government in bail programs that help young people to live safely in their communities.’