The Bennett Brook Disability Justice Centre (Centre) opened in August 2015 and is operated by the Department of Communities.
The Declared Places (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 2015 is the legislation that governs the operation of the Centre.
The Centre is the first declared place in Western Australia (WA) for people with disability. It offers the WA court system an alternative to prison, or release into the community, for eligible people who are accused, but not convicted of a crime, as they have been deemed unfit to stand trial. People with disability in this situation, including those with intellectual disability, cognitive impairment or autism, are some of the most vulnerable and marginalised members of our community.
Placement at the Centre
The Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board (the Board) has responsibility for initiating the placement of all mentally impaired accused people.
The Board makes a recommendation about whether a person is to be released into the community, kept in prison or reside in a specified non-prison facility, such as the Centre. The Board considers a range of factors when making its recommendation, with the protection and safety of the community and the safety and wellbeing of residents, a high priority. Approval is then sought from the Minister for Disability for the placement to be finalised.
Operations of the Centre
The Centre aims to achieve positive long-term, sustainable outcomes for each resident.
Residents (aged 16 years or older) receive individually tailored supports and services that are appropriate for their needs, to prepare them for return to the community. The Centre is designed to create a secure and home-like environment where residents have the opportunity to take responsibility for their own day-to-day living needs.
There are four two-bedroom units and two one-bedroom units to accommodate up to 10 people. The range of living options supports a diverse range of residents, including a variety of cultural backgrounds, ages, genders and the level of one-on-one support required.
The Centre is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and security is maintained using a combination of engagement, environmental and procedural measures. Staff working at the Centre are trained in supporting people with disability in a secure environment using a person-centred developmental approach.
Programs, supports and services for the residents
Programs, services and supports provided to Centre residents are individually tailored to meet their needs and help them gain the necessary life skills to live as independently as possible. It recognises that participation in education, training, skills development and recreation programs and activities, in addition to therapeutic programs, has important social, health and well-being benefits for Centre residents.
Programs and services consider age, gender, spiritual beliefs, cultural or linguistic background, family and lifestyle choices.
Centre residents receive a high level of support in an environment that endeavours to replicate life in the community. If they have been approved for ‘Leaves of Absence’ by the Board, residents are supported to undertake activities in the community and must comply with the conditions stipulated in their Leave of Absence Order.