Stop intellectually disabled people facing lifetimes in prison because of their disability
Some Australian governments keep intellectually disabled Aboriginal people not guilty of a crime in prison. They see this as a cost saving solution to meeting their high level of needs.Roseanne is 26 years old. Born with foetal alcohol brain damage, she was left to endure horrific neglect and sexual abuse from her infant years even though her situation was known to various welfare authorities. I worked as a cop in the NT for years, and now act as Roseanne's adult guardian. As a young adult, despite being a high needs client of NT Health, she ended up under indefinite WA prison supervision when found ‘unfit to plead’ to minor offences. For nearly two years she phoned me, distraught and begging for help.It is unjust and cruel that people with intellectual disabilities can end up in indefinite prison-based supervision when not legally guilty of a crime. Even more so when, like Roseanne, they have suffered a lifetime of neglect and abuse.After a huge change.org campaign freed Roseanne two years ago, she was returned to the care of the NT Government. Unhappily, despite the public outcry, they have not followed through with any enduring commitment to her care, leaving her exposed to risk and further imprisonment. They continue to be addicted to prison solutions. We have to stop this abuse.In just 3 weeks, Roseanne will again be released from prison. I'm asking Malcolm Turnbull & Aboriginal Minister Nigel Scullion to urgently intervene to give Roseanne a chance – this is perhaps her last hope of rescue from the unjust treatment that awaits so many children born with foetal alcohol brain damage.
Roseanne is facing a lifetime in prison because of her disability. Stop the neglect.
UPDATE: We've made incredible progress on freeing Roseanne. Locked up in prison indefinitely because of her disability, without being guilty of a crime – your signatures have helped convince the NT Government to start moving to free her. She's not out of jail yet, but after 18 months in prison they're moving. There are reports that over 30 other Aboriginal people with intellectual disabilities are in prison indefinitely just like Roseanne still – and that's not good enough. I'm keeping my petition open and asking Prime Minister Tony Abbott to lead on a national strategy to end this shameful practice. Please keep signing and sharing my petition to Free Roseanne and the other 30 Aboriginal people with intellectual disabilities in prison indefinitely. –––––––––––––––– Roseanne is 24 years old, locked in a prison indefinitely – yet has not been convicted of any crime. She has foetal alcohol brain damage, and the NT Government is refusing to provide care for her, instead leaving her locked up in prison. I am her legal guardian. She called me last night distraught, wondering why she is locked in a cold concrete cell, not understanding what she has done wrong, wondering when she will get out. Roseanne's cycle of abuse and neglect growing up was truly shocking. At 5 years old she was being traded for sex. After years of abuse, as a young woman she committed some minor crimes, was deemed "unfit to plead" because of her disability – and like many other Aboriginal men and women ended up under indefinite prison-based supervision. Roseanne has now been in prison for 18 months. She hasn't been convicted of a crime. The NT Government has wiped their hands of her. Despite building a brand new facility to care for people like Roseanne – the NT government is refusing to offer her a secure care placement that would allow her release. But it seems they think it'll save a few dollars keeping her in jail instead of in proper care. As any parent will understand, it breaks my heart to hear her fragile and distraught voice, knowing there is somewhere better for her to go, and knowing that she continues to suffer because government bureaucracy won’t facilitate her transfer back to Alice Springs. They're leaving Roseanne in prison, neglected, forgotten and ignored. She is desperately sad and wants to return to the NT. She deserves care and kindness, not prison bars and more abuse. Please help me get this vulnerable girl into the supported care she needs, and leave our prisons for criminals. Sign my petition. You can watch ABC Lateline coverage of the issue here.