In 2018, UnitingCare West secured a Department of Communities Disability Services Capacity Building Grant to look at the experience of Aboriginal People attempting to access NDIS services whilst in prison. The findings of this project were presented at last year’s Reintegration Puzzle Conference. A number of disability service organisations received similar Capacity Building Grants and have used these to focus on the justice system through a disability lens. As a result, a significant body of knowledge has been developed around the experience and needs of a person with a disability interacting with the justice system, from arrest to reintegration post prison.
Our organisations have collated and shared what we have each learnt. We have put our projects together and mapped out where we need to learn more. We have developed a roadmap with recommendations on how the justice system might be improved to increase positive outcomes for people in their care who have a disability.
The complex dynamics created by cross-jurisdictional government relations, differing culture and risk appetite, the Department of Justice post WA Machinery of Government amalgamation and an agile and adapting NDIS has created a time of great uncertainty for people with disability who interface the WA justice system. It also creates an opportunity for co-design, innovation and better outcomes for people with disability.
Jennifer is a tertiary qualified counsellor with many years experience working with men in the areas of family and domestic violence, sexual offending and reintegration.
Jennifer Snell is a tertiary qualified counsellor with 17 years experience working primarily with men in the areas of family and domestic violence, sexual offending and reintegration. She has managed teams of counsellors, homelessness accommodation programs, tenancy services and reintegration services and is currently Principal Practice Lead of Service Quality Governance at Uniting WA. Jennifer oversaw a recent Disability Capacity Building grant from the Department of Communities WA that looked at the challenges for Aboriginal people within the custodial setting accessing the NDIS. The findings of this project were shared at last year’s Reintegration Puzzle Conference.
Justin O’Meara Smith (GAICD, FWA, MBA) Justin is CEO of Interchange (Inc.) a not for profit disability service provider supporting more than 400 people across the Perth metropolitan area. Justin has worked in the disability sector for 20 years and has a diverse range of experiences spanning individualised services, independent and community living, therapy services, supported accommodation, respite, shared management, community access and inclusion, transport, psychosocial disability and recreation. Some of the work of Interchange is to support people with complex needs who are known to police and the justice system. Justin has commitment to working in partnership with people with lived experience and our community, disability service providers, mainstream services and government to advocate for an NDIS that delivers on the promise of both choice and control and positive outcomes for people with disability. Justin serves as an elected member on National Disability Services WA Committee, the Board of WA Individualised Services, and a boards and committees supporting education, local government and community services. Through a WA Department of Community grant in 2019 Interchange led a collaborative project involving service providers and state and federal government representatives to undertake sector consultation to improve outcomes for people with disability who interface with the Justice system during a time of significant disruption transformation for people with disability created by the launch and roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The outcome of this report can be found on the Interchange website, www.interchangewa.org.au.