Caxton Legal Centre has been funded to provide a Bail Service for remand prisoners in southeast Queensland, commencing shortly. Men on remand at three Brisbane correctional centres will be able to apply to receive integrated legal and social support services to to enable them to access bail.
The Bail Service will assess the suitability of newly remanded prisoners to make bail applications as well as targeting specific groups of remand prisoners who are most at risk of serving greater periods on remand than what they might receive as an actual sentence if convicted of the offence.
Caxton Legal Centre’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Lyons said the project had a number of benefits.
“We know that certain groups of offenders, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, are at greater risk of serving a longer period on bail than the likely sentence they would receive if convicted,” he said.
“That’s not fair by any stretch of the imagination. There are zero positives to having people spending longer than they should in prison when there is already an incredible amount of pressure on the prison system.”
A recent inquiry into imprisonment and recidivism by the Queensland Productivity Commission recommended that the use of remand be reduced, and that a greater range of non-custodial options for remand be made available to courts.
The report highlighted the lack of evidence supporting the argument that increased imprisonment benefits the community and pointed to costs of up to $6.5 billion to ensure that prison capacity can meet demand by 2025.
“A wraparound service using social workers and lawyers will connect individuals caught up in the justice system to rehabilitation and support options. We are confident that the Bail Service will help to reduce recidivism rates in Queensland,” Mr Lyons said.
The Caxton Bail Service will offer a range of services to prisoners eligible for bail and for those that are successful in a grant of bail. These services include:
- legal advice and representation
- intensive case management and support
- referral to employment programs, crisis accommodation and alcohol and other drug treatment services.
The Bail Service will operate at the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, Brisbane Correctional Centre and the Woodford Correctional Centre.
The Caxton Bail Service has commenced and is expected to be at its full operational levels by July 1, 2019.
Media Contact: Peter Lyons, Chief Executive Officer, Caxton Legal Centre: (07) 3214 6333