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'There’s not just a gap, there’s a chasm': the boundaries between Australian disability services and prisons

Prisoner health National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Disability services People with disability Australia

People with disability are overrepresented in the Australian criminal justice system and are a disadvantaged sub-population within the already disadvantaged prison population. Inadequate disability support is linked to cycles of offending and re-incarceration for people with disability. Despite the importance and prevalence of these issues, there is limited research in Australia on the intersection of disability and correctional services.

This report explores the results of a study into the intersection between disability and corrective services in Australia from the viewpoint of stakeholders who work with criminal justice-involved people with disability. Through semi-structured interviews with professionals in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, the study explores questions such as how people in prison with disability are identified, what disability supports are available in prison and for transition back to the community, whether these services are sufficient to meet their needs, to what extent National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services are available to people in prison with disability, and what challenges or obstacles might prevent NDIS access. The authors also consider how the needs of people in prison with disability might be better met.

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