Despite the concerns of criminologists and many practitioners, states in Australia are investing in new prisons, instead of diversion, in response to a growing prison population. But at the same time, counter-initiatives that do not usually receive much public attention, have achieved some success. In this paper, we will consider the contemporary bail reform movement internationally and in Australia. Employing quantitative and qualitative methods, we will describe some aspects of bail decision-making in the four states of Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. We will also consider the political forces that have resulted in integrated pretrial programs in Victoria, but prevented their development in other states. Are such programs potentially transformative or will they only have a limited impact on the continued growth of the prison?


Max Travers
University of Tasmania
Senior lecturer

Biography: Max Travers is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania. After qualifying as a solicitor in England, he was awarded a PhD in sociology from the University of Manchester in 1991. He taught at Bucks New University (High Wycombe, England) before moving to Tasmania in 2003. His teaching and research interests are in the sociology of law, criminology and qualitative research methods. His doctoral study, The Reality of Law (Ashgate, Aldershot 1997), examined the practical work of defence lawyers. His current project, working collaboratively in a bail research group, looks at bail decision-making and pretrial services in four Australian states.


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