Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

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Bail refusal increases the likelihood of receiving a prison sentence

Full report: The marginal effect of bail decisions on imprisonment, failure to appear, and crime, pdf 629Kb

Release date: 10.30AM, Monday 27 May 2019


New research by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has found that defendants remanded in custody until their court matter is determined are more likely to receive a prison sentence upon conviction than those who are released to bail. 

The BOCSAR study compared a cohort of defendants who were granted bail at their first court appearance with a similar cohort of defendants who were refused bail and were remanded in custody. 

Controlling for other factors that might influence sentencing outcomes, the study found that remandees were 10 percentage points more likely to be sentenced to prison for their index matter than defendants released on bail. 

The study also found that defendants refused bail committed fewer offences prior to court finalisation and were less likely to abscond.

Together, our results suggest that for every 10 additional defendants remanded in custody the number imprisoned will increase by one, and the number offending on bail and failing to appear in court will reduce by 1.6 and 0.9 respectively.     
Commenting on the findings the Acting Executive Director of BOCSAR, Jackie Fitzgerald, said that the study shows that remanding defendants in custody until their matter is determined has a significant incapacitation effect but these benefits come at a significant cost to the correctional system and the individual in terms of an increased likelihood of a prison sentence. Whether these costs outweigh the benefits achieved in terms of reduced offending and absconding is ultimately a political matter.

Further enquiries: Jackie Fitzgerald 8346 1100 or 0423139687