News + Views

Heeding lived experience vital for improving justice outcomes

The criminal justice system is failing people with disabilities, women and Aboriginal Australians, a panel presented by the CIJ at the Future/Inclusive festival heard last week.

By Karin Derkley, Law Institute of Victoria News, 20 July 2022

Listening to the lived experiences of those people would help develop more holistic and therapeutic approaches that address the underlying causes of why they are coming into contact with the justice system, the session “Our justice system – renovation or re-build? The jury is out” was told.

For people with a disability, the criminal justice system causes “immense harm”, CIJ senior advisor, disability justice, Emily Piggott said. “We know from being told by people with disability that the criminal justice system causes trauma, and it damages people’s lives.” A person with a cognitive disability taken into custody may not be fully aware of what’s happening in the first place, or why they’re even in prison, Ms Piggott said. Locking such people in cells for 23 hours a day is “torture”, she said. “We know that this kind of adversarial punishment-oriented system simply doesn’t work.”

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