Disability Justice Centres

Disability Justice Service
Presentation to Swan Rotary Club
Friday 14 February 2014
Who is Developmental Disability WA
• Non-government, not-for-profit organisation
• Over 25 years as peak advocacy voice for
people with developmental disability, their
families and the organisations that support
• Developmental disability - a disability a person
is born with or which occurs during their
developmental years
Who is Developmental Disability WA
• Developmental Disability WA creates lasting
positive change by:
– Supporting people with developmental disabilities
and their families to have a strong voice
– Influencing government and other decision
– Partnering with others to develop more connected
and inclusive communities
• Intellectual disability and the criminal justice
• Mental Impaired Accused Act – why the
disability justice centres
• Key features of the centres
• Benefits of this approach
Intellectual disability and the criminal
justice system
• People with intellectual or cognitive disability
are over-represented in criminal justice
• Their disability is not the cause of their
offending – literacy, homelessness, co-morbid
psychiatric illness, unemployment, lack of
family and social supports
• Failure to respond to these factors increases
risk of recidivism
MIA – Why the disability justice
• Mental Impaired Accused
– unable to understand the nature of the charge;
– unable to understand the requirement to plead to the
charge or the effect of a plea;
– unable to understand the purpose of a trial;
– unable to understand or exercise the right to
challenge jurors;
– unable to follow the course of the trial;
– unable to understand the substantial effect of
evidence presented by the prosecution in the trial; or
– unable to properly defend the charge.
MIA – Why the disability justice
• WA Law Reform Commission (1991)
• Reed report (1992)
• Criminal Law (Mental Impaired Accused) Act
1996 authorises MIA Review Board to
determine conditions
– Unconditional release
– Detention in an authorised hospital
– Detention in a declared place
– Detention in a prison
MIA – Why the disability justice
• Disability justice centres – the missing link in a
treatment pathway for people with
intellectual and cognitive disability
• Provides an option in between prison and
non-conditional release
– Services and supports that address individual
factors contributing to offending in a safe
environment and the opportunity for supported
transitions that reduce future offending and
therefore lead to better outcomes
MIA – Why the disability justice
• MIA persons must demonstrate that they are
unlikely to reoffend
• Fitness to return to the community is assessed
by MIA Review Board
• People must demonstrate appropriate
behaviours in community based settings –
they can only learn and demonstrate these if
they are able to spend times in community
based settings
Disability justice centres – key features
• Who will be placed in the centres
– Found by court to be mental impaired accused
– Must be 16 years or over
– Mental impairment must be due to intellectual or
cognitive disability
– MIA Review Board will determine whether a
mental impaired accused person can live at a
centre (Disability Justice Centres:
Safeguarding the community)
Benefits of this approach
• Community-based settings ‘best practice’ in
the successful and effective support for
people with intellectual and cognitive
disability who have offended
• Model prioritises community safety and
proactively manages potential risk to residents
and to community

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