find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Adelaide CBD · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
Freelance Project Finance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Australia
· Vario are looking for freelance lawyers with experience in project finance ideally within the renewable energy sector
View details
Vario Freelance Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Australia
· We are looking for lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Freelance Construction Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· We are looking for construction lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
NSW bail laws ‘major contributor’ to Indigenous lock-up rate

NSW bail laws ‘major contributor’ to Indigenous lock-up rate

The Australian Bar Association has called for a review of the bail laws in NSW, after the state’s latest crime statistics showed the rate of Indigenous incarceration has grown.

The rate of Indigenous imprisonment has risen in NSW despite a reduction in arrests, the latest reports from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) show.

The Australian Bar Association (ABA) described the trend as “extremely concerning” and called for NSW to review laws it says unfairly penalise the Indigenous community.  

According to Phillip Boulten SC, the current NSW legislation dealing with bail and community-based orders is “inappropriate” and a “major contributor” to the state’s Indigenous incarceration rate. The ABA Indigenous Issues Committee chair said he read the latest BOCSAR figures as a failure by the government to properly address an issue affecting some of the most vulnerable in the community.

“In many cases, people in disadvantaged circumstances have no stable address to be bailed to and as a result are locked up.

“We need to consider more practical measures, such as bailing Indigenous offenders to a community of elders and giving these communities a role in the justice process,” Mr Boulten said.

The latest BOCSAR figures show a steady increase in the rate of Indigenous imprisonment to 40 per cent in the last 15 years, while arrest rates have dropped by 37 per cent for violent offences and 32 per cent for property crimes.

Although the ABA acknowledged that the rise in Indigenous imprisonment in NSW can be attributed to a combination of factors, the group drew attention to BOCSAR’s correlation between increasing incarceration rates and ‘justice procedure offences’. These offences can include breaches as they relate to custodial orders such as bail conditions, community-based orders and breaches in apprehended violence orders (AVOs).

“As we have witnessed from recent media reports, such as the Four Corners story on justice reinvestment in Bourke, breaches [of justice procedures] can be trivial and sometimes impossible for people in disadvantaged communities to comply with,” Mr Boulten said.

He said the ABA was encouraged by the decline in Indigenous arrest rates in NSW, but wanted to see that drop reflected in the state's imprisonment figures.

“The ABA is pleased and encouraged to see a significant reduction in Indigenous arrest rates in NSW, but would ultimately like to see those rates translate to a reduction in Indigenous imprisonment.

“There are on average 30,000 prisoners in Australia at any one time, a quarter of them Indigenous, costing the country $3 billion a year. Even a 10 per cent reduction in the Indigenous imprisonment rate would save more than $10 million a year,” Mr Boulten said.

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

NSW bail laws ‘major contributor’ to Indigenous lock-up rate
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
WA to close ‘legal loophole’ on gender reassignment laws
Laws in Western Australia will soon change to permit married people to undergo gender reassignment s...
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
Jan 22 2018
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
The #mypathtolaw hashtag has been embraced by legal eagles to swap stories with the Twitter communit...
Jan 22 2018
Legal body disappointed with DPP emails leaked to tabloid
The NSW Bar Association has expressed “profound disappointment” over leaked emails from the NSW ...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...