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NEWS

Short Update: Significant decrease in children in pre-trial detention in Australia

FT Admin - August 26, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Prisoner releases, Pre-trial detention

Recently published figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare  show a significant decrease in the number of children, particularly Indigenous children, remanded in custody since March 2020. From March to June 2020, the number of children in New South Wales (NSW) custodial remand fell by about 20%. The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) largely attributes this decrease to police bringing fewer charges, courts and police making more favourable bail decisions, and more people being allowed to remain at home while waiting for their court cases.  

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of children being remanded in Australia had been growing since 2016. More than half of the children in custodial facilities were on remand and waiting to be sentenced.   

Commentators have argued that the high rates of pre-COVID custodial youth remand were not necessary, and have repeated  existing calls for a critical re-examination of Australian youth and adult justice systems.  

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more  information  please email us at [email protected].  

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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