WAAMH Submission: Indefinite Detention Under Mental Impairment Laws

WAAMH's submission to the Senate Inquiry into the indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia is now complete. Click here to read the final submission.

Our submission details the experiences of people detained indefinitely under the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act (CLMIA Act) in WA, and the so far unsuccessful attempts to achieve change by mental health advocates. We set out a number of recommendations to achieve change. It is based on the extensive consultation and joint work with our partners throughout 2014 and 2015.

The submission calls for amendment of the law in keeping with international human rights obligations, provisions to meet the specific needs of children and young people, specific objects and principles, that prison should cease to be a legal place of detention for mentally impaired accused, the development of appropriate services and places of detention, the collaboration of government departments to develop appropriate responses, access to independent advocacy, and balancing of the rights of individuals with the rights of carers and families to access information and be involved.

Please note, that for the purposes of this inquiry, indefinite detention includes all forms of secure accommodation of a person without a specific date of release, and this includes, but is not limited to; detention orders by a court, tribunal or under a disability or mental health act and detention orders that may be time limited but capable of extension by a court, tribunal or under a disability or mental health act prior to the end of the order.

However, WAAMH has chosen to focus on people detained indefinitely under mental impairment laws as this has been a key priority of our members for some time.