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Indefinite detention of indigenous Australians with a disability

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • In March 2014 Australian media exposed the story of Rosie Fulton, a 23-year-old Indigenous Australian woman with cognitive impairments related to fetal alcohol syndrome. Rosie had spent 18 months in a Western Australian prison following a finding of unfitness related to driving offences. The government claimed there were insufficient community disability services to enable Rosie’s release from prison. Rosie’s story reflects a much larger set of issues related to the incarceration of Indigenous Australians with disability, including individuals who have not been convicted of a criminal offence. These issues have been the subject of public debate with the focus being on the need for appropriate, community-based alternatives to imprisonment. This paper examines the contours of this public debate. It focuses on identifying the extent to which the debate engages with indefinite detention’s deeper social, political, legal and historical dimensions, and the relationship of indefinite detention to discrimination and violence. Ultimately, the paper questions whether indefinite detention of Indigenous Australians might be contested in part by advocating for the abolition of the forensic mental health system (including the practice of indefinite detention).

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Steele, L. (2015). Indefinite detention of indigenous Australians with a disability. In D. N. Weisstub (Eds.), Abstracts of the XXXIVth International Congress on Law and Mental Health (pp. 15-16). Sigmund Freud University Vienna: International Academy of Law and Mental Health.

Start Page


  • 15

End Page


  • 16

Place Of Publication


  • https://www.ialmh.org/template.cgi

Abstract


  • In March 2014 Australian media exposed the story of Rosie Fulton, a 23-year-old Indigenous Australian woman with cognitive impairments related to fetal alcohol syndrome. Rosie had spent 18 months in a Western Australian prison following a finding of unfitness related to driving offences. The government claimed there were insufficient community disability services to enable Rosie’s release from prison. Rosie’s story reflects a much larger set of issues related to the incarceration of Indigenous Australians with disability, including individuals who have not been convicted of a criminal offence. These issues have been the subject of public debate with the focus being on the need for appropriate, community-based alternatives to imprisonment. This paper examines the contours of this public debate. It focuses on identifying the extent to which the debate engages with indefinite detention’s deeper social, political, legal and historical dimensions, and the relationship of indefinite detention to discrimination and violence. Ultimately, the paper questions whether indefinite detention of Indigenous Australians might be contested in part by advocating for the abolition of the forensic mental health system (including the practice of indefinite detention).

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Steele, L. (2015). Indefinite detention of indigenous Australians with a disability. In D. N. Weisstub (Eds.), Abstracts of the XXXIVth International Congress on Law and Mental Health (pp. 15-16). Sigmund Freud University Vienna: International Academy of Law and Mental Health.

Start Page


  • 15

End Page


  • 16

Place Of Publication


  • https://www.ialmh.org/template.cgi