Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Chiselling the Bars

A second forum from the:
Law Society of NSW
Public Defenders Office NSW
Lawyers Reform Association NSW
Criminal Defence Lawyers Association of NSW
Coalition on Intellectual Disability and Criminal Justice


Peter McGhee, Principal Solicitor, Intellectual Disability Rights Service
Doug Payne, Coordinator Behaviour Support, Southern Region,
Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care
Kelly Fishburn, Forensic Casework Team Leader,
Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care
James Condren, Director, NSW Council for Intellectual Disability
Anne Langford, Manager, Disability Services Unit,
Department of Corrective Services
Graeme Smith, Director, Office of the Public Guardian


Jim Simpson, Lawyer and Disability Advocate

5:30-7:30 pm Thursday 17 March
Common Room, NSW Bar Association
Basement Level, 174 Phillip Street, Sydney
2 CLE or CPD points for lawyers

For bookings and enquiries, contact
Jennie Pakula, Law Society of NSW 9926 0390

Our first forum "Gaol as Community Housing?" highlighted the barriers to diversionary and non-custodial options for offenders with intellectual disabilities. This sequel will concentrate on how to make the best of things when you are helping a person with an intellectual disability who is in trouble with the law.

By CID and The Law Society posted 2 March 05


Gaol as Community Housing?
A Forum on Intellectual Disability and Criminal Justice

People with Mental Retardation in the Criminal Justice System
How many people with mental retardation are in the criminal justice system? Based on the 1990 census, an estimated 6.2 to 7.5 million people in the United States have mental retardation. Various studies have suggested between 2 percent to 10 percent of the prison population has mental retardation. Denkowski & Denkowski (1985) found that about 2 percent of all inmates in either state or federal prisons have mental retardation (about 14,000 people). Another study conducted by the state of New York found similar results: between 1.8 percent and 2.2 percent of people with mental retardation were imprisoned (Sundram, 1990). Residential programs that house offenders with mental retardation support another 12,500 people who have been convicted, or suspected of, committing a crime (Noble & Conley, 1992).

Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System
Violence and violent crime are commonly regarded by the public as the domain of the mentally ill (Australian Institute of Criminology, 1990). Public misconception about the true nature of mental illness, as distinct from personality disorder or behavioural disorder, frequently links extreme violence with mental illness. This misconception is enhanced by media depictions of the involvement of the 'schizophrenic' or 'psycho' in violent crime. The Victorian Government's health information website, BetterHealth Channel, gives the following content analysis: