Evaluation of the Bail Assessment Officer (BAO) intervention


Full report: Evaluation of the Bail Assessment Officer (BAO) intervention, pdf 501kb

Release Date: 21 February 2018, 10.30am


A new program designed to reduce the number of prisoners on remand through additional court support has had little effect according to a new report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR). 

The Bail Assessment Officer (BAO) trial was introduced across a number of Sydney metropolitan sites in late 2016.

Under this scheme, Bail Assessment Officers provide the courts with information that may support bail being granted. They may attempt to locate family and close friends, assist with referrals to secure accommodation and arrange appointments with health and treatment providers.

It was hoped that the provision of this additional information to the court at the time bail was being considered would increase the likelihood of bail being granted, thereby reducing the number of remand prisoners and the time spent on remand. 

BOCSAR evaluated the scheme by comparing outcomes before and after the trial period for defendants appearing in the two local courts (Central and Parramatta) where the BAO intervention was operating with outcomes for defendants appearing at three local courts (Burwood, Campbelltown and Fairfield) where the BAO intervention was not operating.

BOCSAR examined the effect of the scheme on the percentage of defendants granted bail at first court appearance and average time spent on remand. The results suggested that the BAO intervention had no significant effect on either the proportion of defendants granted bail or the size of the remand population.

Commenting on the results, the Executive Director of BOCSAR, Dr Don Weatherburn, said that more research would be conducted into the sort of information that might be needed by courts to support applications for bail.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 8346-1100

Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au