Offenders with cognitive impairments failed by W Australia Government: WA Greens


Offenders with cognitive impairments failed by State Government: WA Greens

6 November 2011

WA Greens spokesperson for Disability Alison Xamon has said she is outraged at the dismissive attitude of the Barnett/Grylls Government to the needs of people with cognitive impairments who come into contact with the justice system.

“The Greens are passionate about ensuring that our justice system is equipped to support all people and, in particular, our most vulnerable citizens,” Ms Xamon said.

“People with cognitive impairments are incredibly vulnerable and face unique challenges in navigating the WA justice system.

“The State Government is failing to provide for these people and I am here to urge the Government to stand up and do something.”

Ms Xamon said she had been attempting to determine whether progress had been made on the Intellectual Disability Diversion Program (IDDP), following recommendations made in a WA Law Reform Commission’s review. (See note.)

“In answer to my questions on the IDDP, all I have seen is constant buck-passing,” she said.

“I have been sent on a wild goose chase that only convinces me that this Government does not take the issues facing offenders with cognitive impairments seriously.

“The Attorney General refused to answer my Question On Notice in September, saying the IDDP comes under the portfolio of the Minister for Disability Services.

“The Minister for Disability Services passed the buck to the Department of Corrective Services, who referred me back to none other than the Attorney-General.

“So I have come full circle and still have no information about whether progress has been made on the WA Law Reform Commission’s recommendations.

“This is appalling.

“If I am being shuttled from pillar to post trying to get some answers, then we can be sure that the same treatment awaits these offenders as they try to navigate the complexities of our judicial system.

“Ensuring that offenders with cognitive impairments are appropriately provided for in our justice system should be a priority for our Attorney General.

“It is disgraceful, disappointing and distressing that the Attorney General, as the first law officer of this State, is happy to turn his back on IDDP expansion and the ongoing needs of offenders with cognitive impairments and instead continue to oversee a regime which is locking record numbers of people in prison.

“I call on the Attorney General to turn his attention to this area of great need and to pay heed to the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission.”

Notes:

  • The Intellectual Disability Diversion Program (IDDP) is a joint initiative of the Department of Corrective Services and the Disability Services Commission.
  • The program commenced as a pilot program in July 2003 with the goal of reducing recidivism and the rate of imprisonment and to improve the ways in which the justice system deals with people with intellectual disabilities.
  • The WA Law Reform Commission reviewed the IDDP as part of its 2009 Report on ‘Court Interventions Programs’ and made recommendations for improvement.

For more information contact Alison on 0437 700 555

Hon Alison Xamon MLC

Member for the East Metropolitan Region

Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051

Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931

Phone: (08) 9272 1718

Fax: (08) 9272 1719

Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services, Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering

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