Royal Disability Commission reported cruel mistreatment of prisoners

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

(Image: AAP / Paul Miller)

This week the Royal Disability Commission heard stories of abuse and neglect of people with disabilities in juvenile and adult prisons. One woman described being constantly dropped getting in and out of her wheelchair and said she was denied physical therapy to slow the progression of muscular dystrophy. An Indigenous man said he was denied antidepressants and asthma buffers. A hearing-impaired man said he hadn’t had an Auslan interpreter for weeks.

The mistreatment and lack of integration into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) meant people were left unsupported in prison or after being released and are therefore more likely to re-offend, commission experts said.

Prison and detention are expensive, costing taxpayers billions. Abuse and solitary confinement violate international human rights law, experts say, causing lifelong trauma to those who leave the system and preventing them from reintegrating into society.