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Interface with the criminal justice system

There will be times when you work with a parent with disability and who is also involved in the criminal justice system. Some parents you work with may never have received a diagnosis for their disability or received relevant support. This lack of support coupled with their involvement in the criminal justice system increases complexity and can create barriers limiting positive change unless a parent’s disability is assessed and supported. 

In 2018, the Human Rights Watch released the report I needed Help, instead I was punished.  The report was based on research that occurred in both Queensland and Western Australia.  Some findings include:

  • People with disabilities, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with disabilities, are over represented in the prison population.
  • There is a lack of assessment and identification of people’s disabilities particularly given that many prisoners are not aware of their disability.
  • Without identification of disability, appropriate supports and reasonable accommodation are not provided.


Consider the following:

  • Why do you think it’s important that an incarcerated parent you are working with has their disability assessed and supported?
  • If an incarcerated parent with disability didn’t have the correct supports in place, how might this impact their child?

If you work with a parent who has a suspected or verified disability and they are incarcerated, make time to connect with the parent and their network to explore what supports are available to the parent for their disability. See what the NDIS funds and what the justice system funds for incarcerated people here.

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