In the first 15 months after the NSW Coalition and Labor voted together to dismantle the state’s bail laws the NSW prison population has skyrocketed. The state’s prison population is at a record high of 12, 121 prisoners, driven in large part by the remand population surging by more than 1,000 prisoners, or a third,

The NSW prison population now stands at 12, 121, up from 10,468 in September 2014. The number of prisoners being held on remand, having not been convicted but refused bail, has surged from 2, 822 in September 2014 to 3, 852 in December 2015.

The Coalition and Labor continue to engage in a failed law and order auction that has left NSW prisons overpopulated and overwhelmed with NSW taxpayers footing the bill.

Total prison population   Remand population  
10,468 September 2014 2, 822 September 2014
12, 121 December 2015 3, 852 December 2015

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“History is repeating itself as the state’s broken bail laws continue to see prison populations surging thanks to the Coalition and Labor’s failed law and order auction.

“In September 2014 the Coalition and Labor joined together to remove the presumption of innocence in many bail proceedings and greatly expanded the list of offences where bail is automatically refused.

“Rather than listen to the best evidence that shows increased sentences have no effect on violent crime, they have taken their advice from a law and order campaign run by radio shock jocks and tabloid newspapers.

“The NSW prison system, and ultimately taxpayers, are now seeing the results of the major parties’ failed law and order auction with the number of people in jail because they have been refused bail rapidly expanding.

This comes at a cost with a multimillion dollar blowout in the prison budget, money that can be no longer spent on hospitals, schools and public transport.

“Reducing crime in NSW in the long term requires a commitment to justice reinvestment that will spend scarce tax dollars on better schools, healthcare and social services rather than just more and more jails,” Mr Shoebridge said. 

BOCSAR NSW Custody Statistics Quarterly Update: