Reducing the prison population: The challenge of pretrial services

Max Travers, Rick Sarre, Isabelle Bartkowiak-Theron, Christine Bond, Emma Colvin, Andrew Day
1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, 2University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, 3University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, 4Griffiths University, Brisbane, Australia, 5Charles Sturt University, Albury-Wodonga, Australia, 6James Cook University, Cairns, Australia

Despite the concerns of criminologists and many practitioners, states in Australia are investing in new prisons, instead of diversion, in response to a growing prison population.  But at the same time, counter-initiatives that do not usually receive much public attention, have achieved some success.   In this paper, we will consider the contemporary bail reform movement internationally and in Australia.   Employing quantitative and qualitative methods, we will describe some aspects of bail decision-making in the four states of Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. We will also consider the political forces that have resulted in integrated pretrial programs in Victoria, but prevented their development in other states.  Are such programs potentially transformative or will they only have a limited impact on the continued growth of the prison?


Biography:
Max Travers is Senior Lecturer in the School of Sociology and Social Work, University of Tasmania.   He qualified as a solicitor before completing a doctorate at the University of Manchester, UK examining the practical work of criminal lawyers.  Publications include The Reality of Law (1997), The British Immigration Courts  (1999) and The Sentencing of Children (2012).   He is currently working on a project with five co-investigators about bail decision-making and pretrial services, funded by the Criminological Research Council.

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