Prison not an appropriate home for people with disabilities

Last night ABC’s Lateline aired Rosie Anne Fulton’s story.

Ms Fulton is an Aboriginal woman, and has an intellectual disability. For the past 18 months she has been held in Kalgoorlie prison, accused – but not convicted – of crimes relating to the use of a motor vehicle. She was found unfit to plead as a result of her disability. Ms Fulton and her guardian have sought her return to a care facility in Alice Springs, but this has been refused by the Northern Territory Government.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes are urging the WA and NT governments to immediately resolve Ms Fulton’s situation, to carry out an audit of how many other Australians were being treated in this way, and to quickly address the problem.

You can read the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report, Equal Before the Law: Toward Disability Justice Strategies which was launched in February. The report addresses the lack of equal access to justice for Australians with disabilities and how we can work toward implementing better policies and strategies.

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