ALHR has written to members of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly warning of serious concerns with proposed presumptions against bail

June 8, 2016 canstockphoto5824534-3

ALHR has written to the Northern Territory’s Chief Minister, Attorney-General, members of the shadow ministry and the Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner outlining concerns proposed presumptions against bail to be introduced with the Northern Territory Bail Amendment Bill 2016.

ALHR Vice President Kerry Weste said, “The proposed Bill will establish a regime that is not only costly and inefficient but inhumane and deeply inconsistent with the principles and values set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice.”

“ALHR is deeply concerned that the Bail Amendment Bill 2016 is inconsistent with Australia’s international human rights obligations and important common law principles such as the presumption of innocence. It is certain to disproportionately target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander juveniles and adults. Moreover, it will come at a significant cost to the taxpayer and will further stress an already overburdened juvenile detention and adult prison system in the Northern Territory. Internationally the NT tops all jurisdictions in the United Nations figures for imprisonment rates. These proposals are not evidence based we fear it will in fact have the effect of increasing rates of recidivism. The measures completely ignore proven alternatives to detention.”

ALHR’s Northern Territory Convenor Monique Hurley said,“NATSILS has called on the Territory and Federal Governments to develop and fund justice reinvestment initiatives that can allow community led solutions to dramatically turn around justice outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and at a fraction of the cost. ALHR strongly supports that call.”

Ms Weste said that “ALHR is urging the Northern Territory Government to reconsider the facts, the costs and the voluminous evidence and immediately withdraw the Bail Amendment Bill 2016. Instead we urge the adoption of more proven and cost effective approaches to youth crime such as investment in tried and tested early intervention and diversion programs which reflect the higher morality of a human rights-based approach

ALHR urges the Northern Territory Government to reconsider the facts, the costs and the voluminous evidence and immediately withdraw the Bail Amendment Bill 2016. Instead we urge the adoption of more proven and cost effective approaches to youth crime such as investment in tried and tested early intervention and diversion programs which reflect a human rights-based approach.

Read ALHR’s media statement on the proposed reforms.

Our submissions are attached