Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to respond to the review into Victoria’s bail system. Our submission focuses on the difficulties some groups face in accessing support, and the consequences of this exclusion both for the individuals involved and the community as a whole.

Every Victorian should have the opportunity to access the support they need so that they can appropriately exercise their rights in the face of a court or tribunal, and so they have the opportunity to address the underlying drivers of their offending.

Bail restrictions introduced in recent years have led to a growing number of people in our prisons and youth detention centres who have not been sentenced. People experiencing disadvantage are at heightened risk of falling into this situation as their ability to argue for and access bail is diminished by their vulnerable circumstances. We’re concerned about the unprecedented growth in the use of remand and the extent to which this falls disproportionately on vulnerable people.

Our recommendations provide a range of practical solutions to help make sure that people engaging with the criminal justice system receive the support they need, with the ultimate aim of reducing their contact with the justice system and creating a safer community for all.

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