An Evaluation of youth Bail Assistance Line

Link to report summary:-

A program designed to keep young
people out of remand significantly reduces the likelihood of custody. However,
its limited reach means very few young people receive this assistance.

The NSW Bail Assistance Line is an
after-hours helpline that assists young people who are likely to be remanded by
police gain access to bail.  Young people
can be connected with accommodation, transport and other support services to
help them satisfy the conditions of a bail order.

A new evaluation by the Bureau of
Crime Statistics and Research considers the number of young people helped by
this program and how placement impacts the likelihood of incarceration and
reoffending.

The study found that the number of
young people receiving bail through the Bail Assistance Line is low.   In the first half of 2019, the Bail Assistance Line placed 51 young people; or 9.4% of the 542 cases that were
bail denied by police or placed by the Bail Assistance Line.  While the
number of placements is low,
the number of bail placements through the service has in fact more than doubled over the 8 years from 2011.

Young people helped by the Bail Assistance Line are more likely to be
female, non-Aboriginal defendants with shorter criminal histories. Services
are strongly concentrated in urban areas and Greater Sydney.

While reach is low, the study found positive outcomes for those assisted.  In particular, in the six months after the
bail decision, young people
placed by the Bail Assistance Line were 16% less likely to be incarcerated.

According to Jackie Fitzgerald, Executive Director at BOCSAR,
“Expanding the Bail Assistance Line has the potential to increase the number of
young people placed on bail. However, the impact depends on police engaging the
Bail Assistance Line earlier in the bail process and police willingness to
consider varying a young person’s bail determination.”

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