Indigenous Australians with disabilities are missing key supports in criminal justice system. “First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Damian Griffis has called on the Royal Commission to establish a dedicated hearing into the over-representation and indefinite detention of First Nations people with disability.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 14 times more likely to be imprisoned, with one third reporting a disability, 50 percent reporting a history of psychosocial disability, and 25 – 30 percent of prisoners having an intellectual disability,” Mr Griffis explains.

“We know that by the time a First Nations person has come into contact with the justice system, they are likely to have had a lifetime of their disability related needs [being] unsupported.

“This country must face the reality that First Peoples with disability are being ‘managed’ by police, courts, and prisons, instead of having access to critical community-based services.

“This is not an issue the Royal Commission can choose to ignore.”

Trevor Barker, Support Coordinator for NDIS support provider Gallawah Supports & Services, says there is also a lack of ongoing support for many Indigenous people who have never officially received a disability diagnosis.

“One of the challenges for people in prison is that they may or may not have the assessments they need to get [a] plan that’s going to help them when they transition out of custody,” Mr Barker says.”

Additional issues include limited sign language service leading to prejudice and guards are not trained for disability support. Read full article here.


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