16 June 2020
The Hon. Mark Speakman SC, MP
Attorney General of New South Wales
Dear Attorney General Speakman,
With the current worldwide protests and community support for “Black Lives Matter,” including widespread support to put an end to deaths in custody and the overrepresentation of Indigenous Australians within the criminal justice system right across Australia, has prompted me to again write to you concerning the urgent continuation of funding of the Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program (CIDP).
The CIDP currently has 26% of its participants being Indigenous Australians with psycho-social disability and cognitive impairments, it has developed strong links to local Indigenous organisations and is making a real difference in diverting many from unnecessarily being remanded within the prison system.
In the context of strong research into the negative impacts for people with cognitive impairments who are at risk of detention, the Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program at the Intellectual Disability Rights Service, is a unique program which deserves ongoing funding support beyond the pilot stage, and also whilst any scalable model is being investigated, to ensure continuity of service, staff, developed expertise and program connections.
The CIDP is unique and vital in preventing people with cognitive impairments from being detained in prisons and other places of detention, including Indigenous Australians, being the only one of its kind in Australia.
AFDO strongly recommends the continued funding of the Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program at the Intellectual Disability Rights Service as an essential program protecting some of the most vulnerable in your community.
Chief Executive Officer
M: 0402 842 040