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Public hearing 11: The experiences of people with cognitive disability in the criminal justice system

The Royal Commission held a public hearing in Brisbane from Tuesday 16 February – Thursday 25 February 2021.

The public hearing explored the experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability, particularly people with a cognitive impairment, in their interactions with the criminal justice system and the consequences which follow.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing was to inquire into:

  • The factors contributing to people with cognitive disability first coming into contact with the criminal justice system
  • How and why people with cognitive disability cycle in and out of the criminal justice system
  • How the criminal justice system can, and often does, criminalise disability
  • The overrepresentation of First Nations people with cognitive impairment within the criminal justice system, and any differences in their experience
  • The long term and indefinite incarceration of people with cognitive impairment under forensic custody orders 
  • The impact that appropriate diversion from the criminal justice system, and the provision of appropriate supports to people with disability, can have in reducing contact with the criminal justice system and in moving away from the criminalisation of disability