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Remand in Victoria

A Review of the Nature and size of Facilities Needed

David Biles
ISBN 0 642 88612 1
October,1982

Download report (pdf 1.3MB, 184 pages)

Abstract

This report has been prepared at the request of the Victorian Minister for Community Welfare Services, The Honourable Pauline Toner, MLA. The proposal for this work to be done was originally conveyed to the writer by the Director-General of Community Welfare Services, Mr Ben Bodna, on 26 May 1982. Discussions with Mrs Toner and Mr Bodna in early June clarified the requirements of the project. A submission was subsequently prepared for the Board of Management of the Australian Institute of Criminology and the Board gave its approval for the project to proceed at its meeting of 8 June 1982. The Board requested, however, that the report include data relevant to jurisdictions other than Victoria, and as far as possible this has been done.

The methods used in this investigation have included: discussions with interested persons, including members of the Victorian Association for the Care and Re-settlement of Offenders (VACRO) and numerous prison officials; inspection of the remand facilities in Pentridge and elsewhere; informal discussions with samples of remand prisoners; a detailed survey of all Victorian remand prisoners as at 30 June 1982 in conjunction with the national prison census, a questionnaire survey of all Victorian stipendiary magistrates; inspection of the plans and model of the proposed remand centre for Spencer Street, Melbourne; examination of all relevant statistical information; perusal of relevant legislation and criminological literature; and inspection of a number of alternative sites for a remand centre.

The urgency of this report has been impressed on the writer by both the Minister and the Director-General, and hence not every aspect of the project has been explored as thoroughly as might have been desired. In particular, it is regretted that there has been insufficient time for direct observation of bail applications being considered in higher and lower courts. The writer's normal duties at the Australian Institute of Criminology have also prevented him from working full-time on this project. Nevertheless, with the generous assistance of many people, it is considered that a potentially valuable body of information and opinion has been collected.

An interim report, which provided basic data needed in the planning process, was presented to the Minister on 27 August 1982. As this interim report canvasses some options that are considered in less detail than in the main report, it has been reproduced as Appendix C. Copies of field
notes dictated on significant points during the inquiry are reproduced as Appendix A. Data collection instruments that were used are reproduced as Appendix B.

Persons whose assistance with this project is acknowledged include the staff of Pentridge who facilitated many visits and collected much of the survey data, Mr Kevin Burgess, SM, who coordinated the questionnaire survey of magistrates, Mr Dan Quirk of the Research and Social Policy Section of the Department of Community Welfare Services who coordinated and checked the national prison census and supplementary data collection forms for remandees, Mr John Walker of the Australian Institute of Criminology who coded and undertook the computer analysis of these data, Mrs Diana Watts, a temporary research assistant at the Australian Institute of Criminology who prepared a legal analysis of bail legislation, and the writer's secretary, Mrs Marjorie Johnson, who typed the whole of this report, prepared a number of the statistical tables and assisted with the analysis of the magistrates' survey. Without the assistance and support of these and other people the preparation of this report within the time limit specified by the Minister would not have been possible.