Building Momentum for Bail Reform

Status: Ongoing  |  December 2019 – present



Fact: 70% of people held in Ontario jails are legally innocent.
Source: Auditor General of Ontario, 2019 Report on Correctional Services and Court Operations, page 16

Ontario’s bail system is obviously broken: it’s deeply unfair and negatively impacts thousands of people.
We already know how to fix it – legal experts and the government already agree on what’s needed. So why, after so many years, has there been so little progress?!

Unfortunately bail as a topic:

  • Confuses … the public with misinformation & false talking points
  • Divides… the legal community with finger-pointing & frustration
  • Scares… politicians into avoidance & delay


Our work

Our work

We began in October 2019 with a literature review, system mapping exercise, and design brief. We then conducted off-the-record interviews with leading academics, defence counsel, duty counsel, community legal clinics, and other expert stakeholders.

We synthesized our research into a concise and compelling Creative Brief which served as the key plank of our social media campaign to attract applications from talented creatives for our Creative Design Challenge. From a field of over 80 applicants, we selected 35 participants on criteria such as level of experience, quality of portfolio, personal connection to the issues, and ensuring a balance of skill sets among participants.

On the day of the Creative Design Challenge, we were joined by a complement of four experts on bail and two creative leaders from a world-class ad agency who helped engage and inspire the participants.

Creative Design Challenge

Creative Design Challenge

Workshop participants at the Creative Design Challenge

The February 1st Creative Design Challenge was the project’s half-way point and represented the culmination of three months’ work by our team of volunteers – a unique collection of lawyers, UX/service designers, graphic designers, marketing strategists, and more, who share a passion for using creative design for social good.

You can browse all our workshop materials, including the day’s agenda, creative brief, posters, and more, at this link.

After a day of learning and exploration, participants presented a wide range of compelling concepts which have already opened many exciting pathways for further development. Some common themes included:

  • Experiential design: an art installation that helps users better understand the process/experience of being on remand
  • Interactive products: data visualizations or “choose your own adventure”-style narratives
  • Storytelling: video documentary series of true-to-life stories
  • Marketing tactics to provoke and engage: “missing person” posters that highlight unfair bail decisions or unfair conditions of release

What's next?

What's next?

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Project Leads:  
UX Concept:

Professional Backgrounds

UX design, graphic design, marketing, corporate consulting, education, data science, technical writing, law, public policy & political science.

Tell us about yourself and the skills you can bring to the project.

The problem, our strategy, and how your talent can make a difference

Learn more — essential background info about the system and why it’s broken