Social justice will be delivered to some of Western Australia's most vulnerable people with the opening today of the State's first declared place by Disability Services Minister Helen Morton.
Mrs Morton said the Bennett Brook Disability Justice Centre in Caversham would provide the Mentally Impaired Accused Review (MIAR) Board with a real option for the placement of people who cannot plead due to their disability but for whom prison or community release are not the most suitable options.
The Minister said it was a milestone for the State Government's justice system and we should feel proud of our commitment to address the issue and do the right thing by some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
"The 'declared place' option has always been available to the MIAR board when managing the cases of people who are mentally impaired accused due to disability, but until today one hasn't physically existed. This has meant some people have remained in prison, inappropriately, for lengthy periods," she said.
"Today's opening of this state-of-the-art, secure centre changes that and people now have an appropriate, home-like facility where they can receive support and services appropriate to their needs, delivered by skilled staff."
The centre will house up to 10 male and/or females aged 16 years and older who will receive tailored assistance and support to manage their daily lives. It will be staffed 24/7 and has a range of security measures in place.
Residents will be people with intellectual or cognitive disability, or autism spectrum disorder, who have been charged with an offence but, due to their disability, are deemed unfit to plead and are not able to stand trial.
"The opening of this centre is an enormous step forward for Western Australia. We are now able to provide the right environment to support people to live better lives, in a place that is safe and secure," the Minister said.
New legislation - the Declared Places (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 2015 - has authorised the Disability Services Commission to own and operate the centre
The MIAR Board will make recommendations to the Minister for Disability Services about the suitability of people for placement in the centre. Only people deemed as suitable will be eligible to live in the centre
The centre is located at a property owned by the Disability Service Commission and has been used to support people with disability for more than three decades
Minister's office - 6552 6900