Please see below about news on the Disability Justice Centres in WA from the Western Australian Association for Mental Health

Keep the Disability Justice Centre where it is People continue to be locked up in prisons indefinitely because of their disability or mental illness.

*Please see updated email link below

This can happen under our states mental impairment law if they are found unfit to plead or not guilty on the grounds of a mental illness or cognitive or intellectual disability.

The Disability Justice Centre is a community based residential service for people with people with disability found unfit to plead. The centre is a safe and supervised setting for people who are making the next step towards their return to community. The centre is not an alternate prison.

The current campaign to move the Disability Justice Centre from its current location in Bennet Brook risks condemning people with mental illness and disability to a lifetime in prison. This contravenes their rights.

The government needs to hear that there is strong community support for the centre in its current location.

Tell the Premier to reform the Act and keep the Disability Justice Centre where it is. 

Following long standing advocacy by people with a lived experience of mental illness or disability, families, carers and service providers, our community has called for a Declared Place for people with mental illness for many years. When the government signalled its intention to build it on the grounds of a prison, we objected strongly.

We were successful in securing government support for these services to be community based. Now the government needs to hear this message again.

The law always intended that a community based alternative to prison would be established.

We have waited 19 years for a Declared Place for people with disability. We can’t let the campaign against the centre close it down or prevent a similar centre for people with mental illness being built.

The government made the right decision to provide the centre in a community based setting. Let’s tell them they did the right thing.

Please help us show the government how much we care about this issue and the people that it’s affecting.

Can you contact the Premier today to show your support for the Centre? Call him on 6552 5000 or send an email.

Key points for your conversation: People with disability or mental illness can be detained indefinitely under the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996. Many people under this law are indefinitely detained in prisons without appropriate supports. This law must be reformed. The community has campaigned for this for many years. Indefinite detention of people because of their disability or mental illness is in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. There is strong community support for the Disability Justice Centre to be community based. These services are for people making their next step towards community living. Only people deemed suitable for the centre by the Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board are placed there. We have confidence in this process. People with mental illness also need a Declared Place. Just last year the mental health sector rejected the government’s plans to build one on the grounds of a prison. This was successful. The Western Australian Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan includes plans for a community based Declared Place.

For information contact Chelsea McKinney, WAAMH on 9420 7277 or Taryn Harvey Developmental Disability WA on 9420 7203