Understanding bail

People facing charges in court may be granted bail - staying out of prison - while they await a court hearing.

  • A person on Police bail is allowed to stay in the community, so long as they meet any conditions set by police.
  • A person on Court bail is allowed to stay in the community so long as they meet any conditions set by a judge. They will have signed a bail bond (a type of contract), agreeing that they will go back to court when told. They might have other bail conditions too, such as to live at a certain address or to wear an electronic monitoring anklet.

If a person does not meet their bail conditions, they could be arrested by police and returned to court where the bail decision may be reviewed.

Electronic monitoring on Bail

Corrections administers electronic monitoring on Bail or EM Bail.  People on EM Bail wear an electronic anklet and must remain at an approved address at all times, unless an absence is granted.

Bail Support Services

A person awaiting a court hearing or sentence may be eligible for Bail Support Services.  This is a free, optional service that aims to help people meet their bail conditions and get the help they need before appearing in court.

If a person is not granted bail they will be remanded in custody. Read about what this means on our Being in Prison page.

Applying for bail from custody

Some people are able to apply for bail even after they have been remanded in custody.

They should speak to their lawyer, a Bail Support Officer or their Case Manager to find out if they are eligible and how to apply.

Supporting someone on bail

Whānau/family have an important role to play in supporting someone during their journey through the justice system.

If you choose to support the person as they move through the justice system, you could:

  • support your whānau/family member to attend their court hearings and meet all their bail conditions. How you can best do this depends on your unique circumstances, but talking about what is happening is a good place to start. Other things you might want to do are go with them to court, help them fund their travel to court, remind them of their bail conditions.
  • encourage your whānau/family member to work with Bail Support Services. If they choose to participate, and it is safe and everyone agrees, the bail support officer can also meet with the whānau/family to:
    • explain what the next stage in your whānau/family member’s journey might be, including planning for possible court outcomes and what this means for you
    • understand your views
    • provide you with information and detail about support services available to you, if needed
    • talk about what information you might want the court to hear about your whānau/family member
    • answer your questions.

If your whānau/family member agrees, you could speak to their lawyer about what might happen next.