Disability Royal Commission – Diverting away from reincarcerating people with cognitive disabilities and impairments

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The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability held its eleventh public hearing in Brisbane this week, which explored the experiences of people with cognitive disabilities and impairments in Australia’s criminal justice system.

33 witnesses provided evidence to the commission, including allegations of systemic failings, inhumane mistreatment and indignation and legal impracticalities when handling assessments and referrals determining eligibility for a section 32 diversionary order during sentencing by a Magistrate.

The Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS), based in Sydney has been working to change how case managers, legal representatives, clinicians and neuropsychologists help their clients through their Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program (CIDP). It focuses on an ‘advocacy approach’ paradigm to facilitate, assist and obtain appropriate community-orientated support services including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), resources and support plans that equips them to be more compliant and achieve real change to avoid reincarceration.

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