Disability royal commission told of cruel prisoner mistreatment

A royal commission has heard vivid descriptions of how abuse is rampant among people with disabilities in detention and prison.

(Image: AAP/Paul Miller)

This week the disability royal commission heard tales of abuse and neglect from people with disabilities in youth detention and adult prisons. One woman described being constantly dropped while being moved in and out of her wheelchair and said she was denied physiotherapy to slow the progression of muscular dystrophy. An Indigenous man said he was denied his antidepressants and asthma puffer. A hearing-impaired man said he didn’t have an Auslan interpreter for weeks. 

The mistreatment and lack of integration with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) meant people were not supported in prison or when released, and as such were more likely to re-offend, experts told the commission.

Prison and detention are expensive, costing taxpayers billions. Mistreatment and the use of solitary confinement, experts allege, breach international human rights laws and cause lifelong trauma to those leaving the system, hindering them from reintegrating into society.