Unfit To Plead (Unsentenced Prisoners In Western Australia)

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Authors: John van der Giezen & Prem-Tej Sacha,

Year: 2001

Event: 2001 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Indigenous Peoples Issues, Mental health and the law, book of proceedings

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 1876939079

Abstract: In Western Australia, people with decision-making disabilities who break the law run the additional risk to their freedom of being assessed as unfit to plead. When this happens, there is a possibility that the person will be detained in prison as an unsentenced prisoner for an undefined period. At the time of writing there are seven such prisoners in Western Australian prisons.

This paper will outline a pioneering process of intervention, which has led to successful release plans for such people being developed through a collaborative approach. This involves close working relationships between the Ministry of Justice, Disability Services Commission, Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service, the Office of the Public Advocate and the persons' extended family. Pre and post release support plans are developed with the aim of enabling successful reintegration into the community. The paper will provide an analysis of the legal, ethical, social, political and cultural factors considered during the process and outline further work in progress.

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