The committee considered this inquiry in the 44th Parliament. The inquiry lapsed at the dissolution of the Senate on 9 May 2016.
On 13 September 2016, the Senate agreed to re-adopt the inquiry with a reporting date of 29 November 2016.
The committee has resolved not to call for new submissions but to rely on submissions received during the 44th Parliament. All correspondence and evidence previously received for this inquiry has been made available to the new committee. This means that submissions already provided to the committee about this issue do not need to be re-submitted.
On 2 December 2015, the Senate referred the following matter to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report:
- The indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia, with particular reference to:
- the prevalence of imprisonment and indefinite detention of individuals with cognitive and psychiatric impairment within Australia;
- the experiences of individuals with cognitive and psychiatric impairment who are imprisoned or detained indefinitely;
- the differing needs of individuals with various types of cognitive and psychiatric impairments such as foetal alcohol syndrome, intellectual disability or acquired brain injury and mental health disorders;
- the impact of relevant Commonwealth, state and territory legislative and regulatory frameworks, including legislation enabling the detention of individuals who have been declared mentally-impaired or unfit to plead;
- compliance with Australia’s human rights obligations;
- the capacity of various Commonwealth, state and territory systems, including assessment and early intervention, appropriate accommodation, treatment evaluation, training and personnel and specialist support and programs;
- the interface between disability services, support systems, the courts and corrections systems, in relation to the management of cognitive and psychiatric impairment;
- access to justice for people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment, including the availability of assistance and advocacy support for defendants;
- the role and nature, accessibility and efficacy of programs that divert people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment from the criminal justice system;
- the availability of pathways out of the criminal justice system for individuals with cognitive and psychiatric impairment;
- accessibility and efficacy of treatment for people who are a risk of harm to others;
- the use and regulation of restrictive practices and their impact on individuals with cognitive and psychiatric impairment;
- the impact of the introduction and application of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, including the ability of individuals with cognitive and psychiatric impairment to receive support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme while in detention; and
- the prevalence and impact of indefinite detention of individuals with cognitive and psychiatric impairment from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including the use of culturally appropriate responses.
- That for the purposes of this inquiry:
- indefinite detention includes all forms of secure accommodation of a person without a specific date of release; and
- this includes, but is not limited to, detention orders by a court, tribunal or under a disability or mental health act and detention orders that may be time limited but capable of extension by a court, tribunal or under a disability or mental health act prior to the end of the order.
Submissions were sought by 8 April 2016. The reporting date is 29 November 2016.