Tuesday 13 February, 2024
On the 25th January 2024, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service (TALS) launched its Bail Support Program pilot in Launceston.
TALS CEO, Jake Smith said the Program will be available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people released on bail and receiving legal support from TALS.
“The Bail Support Program (BSP) links people with culturally safe, community-based support to address their needs while on bail to improve compliance with the conditions imposed,” Mr Smith said.
The program is aimed at Closing the Gap and reducing the incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Mr Smith said "a BSP Officer will work with a person to identify their needs and coordinate referrals to the community-based services that will best support them."
This support can include housing support, drug and alcohol treatment supports and access to health and mental health services. BSP is a voluntary program focusing on a person’s wellbeing, respects their cultural and community needs and supports the completion their bail period.
Mr Smith said "many clients are experiencing housing issues, substance dependency, a physical or mental health barrier or inadequate social, family or financial support."
The BSP Officer will work with clients to develop an individualised support plan that focuses on needs, risks and strengths.
The BSP Officer will maintain regular contact with a client for the duration of their bail period, providing ongoing support up until their scheduled court date as well as providing updates to the Court and Prosecution as to the client’s progress on the program.
Mr Smith welcomed the pilot funding from the Rockliff Liberal Government, under the Closing the Gap Capacity Building Funding Program.
“We hope to expand the BSP to right across the state to support all Aboriginal Tasmanians in the future, subject to future funding.”
The Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service wants to see genuine engagement and consultation with a wide range of Aboriginal communities and organisations to support the best outcome for Aboriginal children and young people.
TALS has appointed Palawa man Jake Smith as its new CEO.