New bail laws will drive more cyclical crime; 500 justice professionals write to Premier Minns

Australian Greens

More than 500 legal practitioners, community workers and academics working across the fields of law, criminology, social sciences and Indigenous studies have written to NSW Premier Chris Minns with grave concerns about the negative impacts of the Government’s plan to change bail laws in response to youth crime. A separate letter from 60 organisations has also been sent to the Premier.

Greens MP, Solicitor and spokesperson for justice Sue Higginson said “The evidence is clear, and has been for a long time. When bail is denied to children, they are more likely to be enmeshed in the criminal justice system. These bail laws expressly seek to refuse bail to children and will result in worse outcomes for the young people and the broader community,”

“Premier Chris Minns has already copped backlash from his Cabinet colleagues in response to this captain’s call to jail more young people, and for very good reasons. The proposed bail changes and new offences do not address concerns for improved community safety. They actually undermine the investment made by the Government to resource the real solutions that will work,”

“The real costs of incarcerating young people is well beyond the $985,500 per child per year cost to the budget. The personal and social impacts are felt by the young person, their family and community, and broader society for the duration of that young person’s life. Evidence-based solutions which are therapeutic and non-punitive must be the priority to reduce crime incidence and lower the impact on people and NSW,”

“These changes will result in more children in prison and most of them will be First Nations children, it is difficult to see how this is anything other than a colonial and racist intervention by the Premier. 61.5% of young people in youth custody are First Nations young people, and 100% of young people who were on remand after being refused bail by the police are First Nations children,”

“Instead of this knee jerk and harmful law and order response, the Premier should be investing in the three point youth crime prevention plan put forward by the experts. We need resources allocated for local communities to support after-school, evening and weekend activities that engage at-risk young people, intensive and targeted programs and responses for at-risk children with appropriate referral services, and formal community partnerships between police and Aboriginal controlled services,”

“Premier Minns and his Labor Cabinet know what is necessary, and they know that this intervention through bail laws changes is a road to nowhere. He needs to listen to the experts, stand up to populist rhetoric and the Coalition, and deliver a justice system that is supporting young people who are suffering from lack of support and investment. Premier, we expect better,” Ms Higginson said.

/Public Release. View in full here.