Help Bail Out Victoria's Broken Bail System

Help Bail Out Victoria's Broken Bail System

Crime is dropping, yet incarceration is rising.

A new report released by Liberty Victoria’s Rights Advocacy Project has found that the Victorian Government’s changes to bail laws are the single largest factor behind the increased numbers of people in Victorian prisons. This risks making the Victorian community less safe, the report argues, given evidence of the ‘criminogenic’ nature of prisons, where being imprisoned can increase the likelihood of a person reoffending.

Bailing Out a Broken Bail System examines the impacts of the Victorian Government’s changes to the state’s bail laws, including how they disproportionately impact women ...

Crime is dropping, yet incarceration is rising.

A new report released by Liberty Victoria’s Rights Advocacy Project has found that the Victorian Government’s changes to bail laws are the single largest factor behind the increased numbers of people in Victorian prisons. This risks making the Victorian community less safe, the report argues, given evidence of the ‘criminogenic’ nature of prisons, where being imprisoned can increase the likelihood of a person reoffending.

Bailing Out a Broken Bail System examines the impacts of the Victorian Government’s changes to the state’s bail laws, including how they disproportionately impact women and First Peoples; reviews lessons on bail law reform from other jurisdictions including New York and England and Wales; and provides recommendations to the Victorian Government for reforming the state’s bail regime, including by adopting a ‘no real prospect test’, which successfully reduced the number of people on remand in the UK.

The report has been released as the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into Victoria’s Criminal Justice System is underway. The Australian Government on October 31 released their own damning report on Australia’s prison dilemma highlighting the high economic cost to the taxpayer, while failing to make the community safer.

State MPs have the power to fix Victoria’s broken bail system. Now is the time to keep up the pressure on our State’s politicians to ensure that the recommendations of our report are considered during the Inquiry. Reforms must ensure people who do not present a real risk to community safety are granted bail, allowing them to return to their families, workplaces and support networks while awaiting court, which would likely see fewer people in prison and an improvement to community safety overall.

What are we recommending?

This report recommends five possible changes to the Bail Act 1977 (Vic):

Recommendation 1: Proposes a single unacceptable risk test for all bail applicants instead of having the complexity of three separate tests

Recommendation 2: Addresses the increased numbers of bail applicants on conditional liberty who are denied the presumption of bail and instead are subject to the show compelling reason test through amendments to section 1 of Schedule 2.

Recommendation 3: Addresses the secondary criminal offences that an accused person who breaches bail is liable for through the repeal of sections 30, 30A and 30B.

Recommendation 4: Proposes a ‘no real prospect of imprisonment’ test, inspired by the experience of England and Wales, to reduce the number of accused people who spend time on remand but are ultimately not sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

Recommendation 5: Strengthens the requirement that Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander identity is considered by the bail decision-maker when determining whether to grant bail and under what conditions.

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Bailing Out Victoria's Broken Bail System

The Victorian Parliment's inquiry into the criminal justice system is underway.

State MPs have the power to fix Victoria’s broken bail system. Now is the time to keep up the pressure on our State’s politicians to ensure that the recommendations of our report are considered during the Inquiry.

You can use our email template below to draft an email to the following MPs to demand action:

  • Jaclyn Symes (Attorney-General)
  • Dr Matthew Bach (Shadow Attorney-General)
  • Dr Samantha Ratnam
  • Fiona Patten
  • Andy Meddick

Where do you live?

Compose your email

Email Tips +

You should take the time to personalise your email by adding your own thoughts. The most effective emails will tell your own story. You should include an introduction paragraph saying who you are and why you are writing to them. If you are a member of their electorate, you should make this clear. It can also be useful to refer to a recent news event about bail or highlight a connection or personal experience you have to bail reform. You should also provide your contact details and ask them to reply to your email.

Contact us at [email protected] if you receive a response and we can help you work out next steps.