Give people with cognitive disability a fair go in the justice system

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Give people with cognitive disability a fair go in the justice system

This petition made change with 16,293 supporters!

“My name is Justen Thomas. I am a 43 year old Aboriginal man with an intellectual disability and epilepsy. I was homeless as a young person and I started to get fines for sleeping on trains. I was never able to pay my fines and it escalated to a big issue where I was getting locked up for fines. When I got arrested I didn’t understand the police or the court system and I ended up in prison many times. The cycle ended when I finally got the help and support I needed.

Getting the right help turned my life around. I haven’t been in prison now since 2004 and I don’t intend to go back either.

I got support from Youth Shopfront and then from IDRS (Intellectual Disability Rights Service). IDRS run the JAS (Justice Advocacy Service) which only has funding until June this year. IDRS also ran a very good diversion programme called the Cognitive Impairment Diversion Programme (CIDP).The funding for CIDP ended in June 2020.

Please sign this petition and help me help people with cognitive disability who end up in the justice system get the help and support they need.

We need long-term funding for effective programmes like JAS and CIDP.

I recently gave evidence at the Disability Royal Commission Hearing on Justice.

At the end of the hearing the Chair of the Commission, Ronald Sackville, said it is time to “end the cycle created by the criminalisation of disability”.

He said, “the difficulty is to ensure that effective programmes are introduced, supported and properly funded – and not just in the short term.”

I agree with Ronald Sackville. We need long-term funding for important programmes like JAS and CIDP.

Let’s help people with a disability live to their potential instead of seeing them go to jail and locking them away.

Please sign this petition to the Attorney General and the Premier.

#JusticeMatters

Read the letter being sent in your name to the Attorney General and the Premier here.

Thank you for making a difference
Justen Thomas

Find out more about our Justice Matters campaign on our website.

Confirmed victory

This petition made change with 16,293 supporters!

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