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Conditions in detention for people with disability to be examined in hearing

The Disability Royal Commission will inquire into the conditions for people with disability in youth detention and adult prisons during its twenty-seventh Public hearing in Perth next week.

The hearing will be conducted over five days commencing on 19 September 2022. Due to the very recently announced public holiday to commemorate the National Memorial Service, the Royal Commission is not able to sit on Thursday 22 September. The hearing will reconvene for the fifth day as a virtual hearing from the Disability Royal Commission’s Sydney hearing room on 6 October 2022.

Lived experience witnesses, advocates, experts and government representatives from Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland will give evidence to the Royal Commission about their experience of these closed settings.

The Royal Commission will also inquire further into the high rates of incarceration of First Nations people with disability. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from June 2021, shows that 30 per cent of all adult prisoners in Australia were First Nations people, yet comprise just 2.5 per cent of the Australian adult population[1]. ABS data also shows out of all Australian states and territories, Western Australia has the highest rate of over-representation of First Nations people in prison.[2]

Public hearing 27 will:

  • examine why policies, practices and responses have failed to address violence, abuse, neglect & exploitation of people with disability in these settings
  • hear from WA Government witnesses about these issues and proposals for change
  • hear from human rights groups and advocates about their work and proposals for change.

The hearing is open to the public on 19, 20, 21 and 23 September at the Pan Pacific Perth. Chair of the Royal Commission, the Honourable Ronald Sackville AO KC, will preside over the hearing and be joined by Commissioner Andrea Mason OAM, and Commissioner Alastair McEwin AM, Senior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, Patrick Griffin SC will appear at the hearing.

Journalists wishing to cover the hearing should notify the Disability Royal Commission media team to ensure access to the media room and/or relevant information including schedules and live transcripts.

Please direct all inquiries to the Disability Royal Commission media team on 0436 841 166 or via our email


[1] (2021) Australian Bureau of Statistics, Prisoners in Australia, ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners’.