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Bail and Remand for Young People in Australia: A National Research Project

NCJ Number
Kelly Richards; Lauren Renshaw
Date Published
132 pages
This research examines bail and remand practices for youth in Australia nationally and in each of the Nation's jurisdictions.
A key finding is that although the rate of youth in detention on remand has increased, the rate of sentenced juvenile offenders confined in detention facilities has decreased significantly over the same period. This indicates that although there have been increases in the use of remand for youth the issue has not been properly framed in distinguishing between pretrial detention and detention as a sentence. Indigenous youth were 20 times more likely to be on remand than other youth, and they spent longer on remand. The authors of this study recommend renewed debate on the purposes of bail; the importance of implementing evidence-based policies and programs that prevent the onset of offending by youth; and the implementation and evaluation of appropriately targeted bail support services for youth, particularly those with multiple, complex needs. The authors argue that it is important that detention, including custodial remand, be used as a last resort for youth. Given the numerous factors that impact the rates of pretrial detention of youth in Australian jurisdictions, a multifaceted approach will be required to reduce the pretrial detention of juveniles. The recommendations offered in this report include measures indirectly linked to bail and remand processes, as well as measures directly associated with these processes, e.g., responses to bail violations and the evaluation of bail support programs. A table outlines both indirect and direct measures for consideration, as well as the objective for each measure. 13 figures, 18 tables, 128 references, and appended international instruments that relate to the custodial remand of youth and a listing of interview participants