The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has welcomed the ACT Corrective Services Disability Action and Inclusion Plan launched today by the ACT Government.
ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “This plan, released on the International Day for People with Disability, is an important step to improving the lives of people with disability involved with the justice system.
“The ACT Disability Justice Strategy estimates that up to 50% of people in Australian prisons have a disability. Incarceration can be particularly difficult for people with disability, who struggle because they are unable to access supports they were receiving in the community, or who may be unwilling to identify as a person with disability due to fear of being made more vulnerable within the prison system.
“The ACT Corrective Services Disability Action and Inclusion Plan includes several commitments aimed at improving ACT Corrective Services’ supports for people with disabilities and ACTCOSS particularly welcomes initiatives to:
- Develop and deliver staff disability confidence and response training
- Develop and implement the Disability Offender Framework
- Establish disability liaison officers in the custodial and community environments.
“ACTCOSS was pleased to host the ACT Corrective Services Executive Champion for Disability at a recent Community Sector Justice Reform Group to discuss the development of this plan and we look forward to continuing to work with ACT Corrective Services in its implementation.
“In particular, we are keen to ensure there is robust community consultation and engagement as the plan is delivered, including with detainees in the Alexander Maconochie Centre.”
Dr Campbell added: “Monitoring and evaluation is essential to ensure that the good intentions of this Plan translate into good outcomes.
“Ensuring that incarcerated people with disability receive appropriate and accessible supports is essential to reducing the over-representation of people with disability in the corrections system.”
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.