A strong call to action from leading University of NSW Professor and former Director of the bureau crime statistics.

15 per cent of the prison population present as low risk to the community, and it is worth considering whether these people belong in prison on economic grounds alone when other options are available.

Alternative ‘punishment’ includes diversion programs for first-time offenders, home detention and electronic monitoring, treatment for people with mental illness, and courts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide culturally appropriate punishment.

Professor Weatherburn said reducing imprisonment could also reduce crime.

“We compared people who got electronic monitoring with the same sort of people who got a prison sentence and found there were much lower rates of reoffending among those placed on electronic monitoring,” he said.

“The reason is obvious – they’re still going to work, they’re still with their families, and that has a substantially beneficial effect.”

In support of the effort to provide alternatives to pre-trial incarceration, Attenti provide a private bail program in NSW and VIC. We have heard first accounts of how the program has assisted people in maintaining their family, employment and ability to prepare for trial in a way they couldn’t if they remained in remand.