The Liberal National government’s broken bail reforms has created an 11% increase in bail refusals with vulnerable populations the most adversely affected, according to a new report released today. This equates to 1,500 additional people held in jail with bail refused in the last 2 years.
The report from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research comes at a time when the NSW prison population is at a record high and the only response from the Liberal National government has been to spend $3.8 billion building new prisons.
Greens MP and Aboriginal Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“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.
“Now at a time where violent crime is at a record low, this government has directly overseen a surge in bail refusals and an overcrowding crisis in our prisons.
“This new report now shows how the 2014/15 changes to the Bail Act have further disadvantaged Aboriginal people.
“As a result of these changes there is now more than a doubling of likelihood that First Nations people will be refused bail by the courts.
“Aboriginal people are the most incarcerated people in the world and continue to die in custody, they are the ones that bear the brunt of broken bail laws and a systemically racist criminal justice system.
“This week in Parliament we will be calling for all Aboriginal prisoners that have been refused bail for non-violent offences to be immediately released and for an immediate review of their cases.
“In NSW Aboriginal people are more likely to charged, more likely to be refused bail and more likely to spend time in jail than non-Aboriginal people who commit the same offence.
“Pretty much the only answer the Liberal National government has to this crisis is to build more and bigger jails. This isn’t the answer, in fact it’s the very problem
“We need a commitment to fix the broken bail laws but we also need a longterm commitment to justice reinvestment that will spend scarce tax dollars on better schools, healthcare and social services rather than just more jails.” Mr Shoebridge said