Bail Supervision and Young People: Pathway or Freeway?
Over the past decade bail legislation reform has curtailed the presumption in favour of bail and enabled its therapeutic use. Arguably such changes transform the traditional role of bail as a means of ensuring a defendant’s return to court and balancing the presumption of innocence. These changes are likely to present challenges to those managing conditional bail and those subjected to it, particularly in relation to minimising net-widening and deviancy amplification. This paper describes Stage One of a study involving an analysis of the administrative records of 512 young people and interviews with youth/social workers. The study found supervised bail orders contained a number of quasi-therapeutic conditions and were used, in part, to address young people’s ‘needs’. The findings suggest caution needs to be exercised when using bail as a rehabilitative tool in order to avoid the risk of entrenching young people further into the system.