Forty-two per cent of prisoners in New South Wales jails are on remand, jailed without a trial.

“They are treated like animals. Life in jail is appalling. It is awful in ways that most people could never imagine.”

This is an experienced criminal lawyer talking about the men, the increasing proportion of our prison population, who find themselves imprisoned without a trial. On remand and locked up in vile conditions with violent, dangerous people. They are being locked up because of changes to our bail legislation, which are resulting in more and more men being refused bail – shut away for months, sometimes even years, before their cases are determined.

Yet, as I write this, our media is inflamed, demanding fewer men should be let out on bail. This is the result of the death of a young NSW mum, Molly Ticehurst, apparently at the hands of her ex-partner who was out on bail facing various domestic and sexual violence allegations. “This has to stop” – demanded The Daily Telegraph, calling for changes to the state’s “failing bail laws.”

During an interview with the Shadow NSW Police Minister Paul Toole, Chris Kenny on Sky News was quick to blame the magistrate for allowing bail to the alleged offender. Toole called for a complete overhaul of bail laws to ensure that even fewer accused men are given bail. The NSW government has already caved in and announced a review.

Knee-Jerk Reaction

Every time a crime is committed by someone on bail, we see similar demands for tightening of the laws to ensure that everyone accused of any serious crime, particularly domestic violence, is safely locked away – even before there is any attempt to examine the evidence supporting the accusation at trial.

It’s easy to see why public sentiment is behind the demand to do more to protect vulnerable women in these circumstances. But the price we pay for knee-jerk responses to a very complex issue is that thousands of, both legally and factually innocent, men are locked up in jails across the country.

It is very easy to argue that there will never be an offence committed by a person on bail if nobody is ever granted bail. But the true cost of such a position needs to be understood.

Sure, we can reduce the risk of offending by removing bail as an option. And we can increase the likelihood of convictions by implementing a reverse onus in what we perceive to be ‘problem’ areas of crime. In fact, we can absolutely ensure that all persons suspected of committing a crime are summarily convicted, just by removing the right to a trial. But do we want to live in such a place?

Legally Innocent

Right now, across this country, more than a third of men in Australian prisons haven’t had their cases determined by a court. In national trends, the number of unsentenced people in custody almost doubled, reaching 16,000 in the past decade. The proportion continues to go up — with a 15.5% increase in the last five years.

locked up

In New South Wales, 42% of prisoners are now on remand – which means that they are legally innocent. Yet they are behind bars.

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“They are presumed to be innocent and a lot of these offences are not offences where, if they were convicted, they would necessarily go to jail,” comments Lorana Bartels, a professor of criminology at ANU, a feminist who mainly advocates on behalf of female and indigenous prisoners.

Her focus is ironic given that most of the recent astonishing increase in presumed innocent people being locked up is due to what we might call “feminist offences” – offences allegedly committed mainly by males which the women’s lobby has worked hard to ensure are punished severely. That means, ideally, putting the alleged perpetrator behind bars.

This feminist campaign has been a great success with a record number of prisoners on remand. In NSW, the overall remand prisoner population has increased by 74% in the last 10 years and is now 92% male.

Disproportionately Men

Naturally, our biased media plays down the fact that mainly men are being impacted. The Sydney Morning Herald falsely claims that the changes that resulted in this increase “disproportionately affect Indigenous Australians, the homeless and women.”

Yet the crimes the feminists have targeted – sexual assault, domestic violence, intimidation/stalking and the like – make up 98 per cent of the increase in remand prisoners in the last 4 years, according to data provided to us by BOSCAR.  Domestic violence and sexual assault account for 83% of the increase.

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Of course, there are shocking cases of women on remand – like Maree Mavis Crabtree, the Queensland woman who was recently released after six years behind bars. Bail had been refused after she was accused of killing her son with a poisoned fruit smoothie.

But these cases are rare compared to the huge number of men finding themselves in this situation.  For instance, we never hear about the men now routinely imprisoned without a trial after accusations of domestic violence. For every two men in prison who have been convicted of domestic violence, there are three who have been charged but not tried.

As we know, no actual evidence is required to make a domestic violence accusation and have a man charged. A mere allegation by an angry ex-spouse is often sufficient to have her partner given an apprehended violence order and then, by setting up a few breaches of that order, put into jail.

Read more here.


Republished with thanks to Bettina Arndt’s Substack. Photo by Ron Lach.

About the Author: Bettina Arndt

Bettina Arndt started out as one of Australia’s first sex therapists before becoming a respected social commentator on gender issues. Alarmed by the unfair treatment of men in our society, she’s now devoting all her time to making YouTube videos, writing and making media appearances about men’s issues and the anti-male feminist agenda.

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