Support is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are released on bail and are receiving legal support from TALS.
The Bail Support Program (BSP) links people with culturally safe, community-based support to address their needs, reduces the risk of re-offence and improves compliance with bail conditions.
The BSP aims at closing the gap and reducing the incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Tasmania.
What is the BSP?
The BSP provides support to adult clients who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, are eligible for TALS services and who are bailed or are seeking an application for bail.
A BSP Officer will work a person to identify their needs and coordinate referrals to the community-based services that will best support them. This support can include drug and alcohol treatment, housing support and access to health and mental health services.
The BSP is a voluntary program that focuses on a person’s wellbeing, respects their cultural and community needs and supports the completion their bail period.
Who is eligible?
The BSP is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 18 years old that have criminal matters before the Launceston Magistrate’s Court.
The entering of pleas is not essential for a client to participate, and the prospect of a custodial sentence does not exclude someone from the BSP.
A potential BSP client must:
We note that we hope to expand the BSP to Hobart, Burnie and Devonport Magistrates Courts in the future.
What is involved?
A client will be assigned a BSP Officer who will complete a brief intake process. This occurs when a client is detained, or just after being granted bail. This process assists a BSP Officer in understanding primary concerns and helps them prioritise the issues requiring immediate action.
The BSP Officer will then work with clients to develop an individualised support plan that focuses on needs, risks and strengths. Referrals to relevant community-based supports are then made, and the BSP Officer will provide support in meeting any commitments made.
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.
The BSP Officer will provide updates to the Court and Prosecution as to the client’s progress on the BSP.
It is hoped that with the BSP support, that the client is able to address risk factors, better their position and ultimately leave the justice system better than when they started.
Support of BSP
The BSP is currently operating as a pilot in Launceston. It has been funded under the Closing the Gap Capacity Building Funding Program, which is supported by the Tasmanian Government.
We hope to expand the BSP to Hobart, Burnie and Devonport Magistrates Courts in the future, subject to future funding.