Senate debates

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Questions without Notice: Additional Answers

Remand Population

3:02 pm

Photo of Joe LudwigJoe Ludwig (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) Share this | | Hansard source

(—) (): On 25 June 2012, in my capacity representing the Attorney-General, I took a question on notice from Senator Wright regarding the remand population in Australia. I table a response to that and seek leave to incorporate the answer in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows—

People on remand include unconvicted prisoners awaiting a court hearing or trial, convicted prisoners awaiting sentencing and persons awaiting deportation where they are under the administration of adult corrective services.

As at 30 June 2010, 23 per cent of the adult detention population in Australia were people on remand. There was a six per cent increase in people on remand from 2009 to 2010 but a decrease in the amount of time spent on remand.

The operation of the criminal justice system, including bail and remand is the responsibility of state and territory governments. The decision to hold an individual on remand is made by state courts, or in some states from a police referral. Remand can be the result of a bail refusal, or an inability of an individual to meet the bail conditions imposed. The types of bail conditions imposed can vary significantly and are at the discretion of the court setting bail.

The government raised the issue of high rates of remand with the state and territory governments at the April meeting of the Standing Council of Law and Justice as part of the government's response to the Doing Time—Time for Doing: Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system report, released by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in June 2011.

The Justice Reinvestment working group of the National Justice CEOs compiled a report which has not yet been publicly released. This requires agreement from all jurisdictions prior to being released.

However, I can advise that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has commenced work on a review of corrective service data. The review will be undertaken with all jurisdictional agencies with an interest in improving the data.

The Attorney-General's Department is not currently working on a bail hostel pilot project.

However, the Attorney-General's Department is working with other agencies to pursue a policy of 'no exits in to homelessness', including developing options of how the Commonwealth can reduce exits from care into homelessness, noting that this is primarily the responsibility of state and territory governments.

People leaving care (including detention), particularly young people, have been identified under the Homelessness Action Plan as a group vulnerable to becoming homeless.