Eminent Australians call for vital court diversion program to be saved
Over 50 eminent Australians have joined Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) to call on Attorney General Mark Speakman to reverse a decision to stop the funding of the Cognitive Impairment Diversion Program (CIDP). Read our open letter.
For over 30 years, CID has advocated for governments to fix the overrepresentation of people with intellectual disability in the criminal justice system.
The CIDP, which is run by the Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS), has been highly effective at diverting people away from the Local Courts and into support services that help them lead more positive lives and stay out of trouble with the law.
The CIDP has achieved outstanding results. It has gained the trust of people who tend to be wary of service providers, helping them access the NDIS and other services.
Over two thirds of CIDP participants were successful in obtaining diversionary orders rather than being convicted of offences (IDRS Annual Report). The CIDP is strongly inclusive of the 26 percent of its participants who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
The CIDP is a critical service for people with intellectual disability, acquired brain injury and other cognitive impairments.
Since 2017, the NSW government has been funding the CIDP as a pilot program at Penrith and Gosford Local Courts. However, Mr Speakman’s Department of Communities and Justice has now decided it will stop funding the CIDP on 30 June 2020.
The open letter from the 57 eminent Australians to the Attorney General concludes: “We see a program like the CIDP as needed statewide. At this point we urge you to at least continue its funding with a view to the development of a statewide program.”
We are seeking a meeting with the Attorney General to fix this issue and will report further to our supporters.
See these media reports about the CIDP funding
- Program diverting intellectually impaired people from NSW prisons faces axe, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 June
- Fight underway to save vital legal program, The Western Weekender, 1 June
- Calls for NSW government to keep the cognitively disabled out of prison, Mirage News 3 June
How you can help
When you have signed the petition, can you also phone or email the Attorney General, Hon Mark Speakman, and tell him that you want to see funding for the CIDP continued and the extended across NSW. Here is a lobbying guide to help you.
Can you email and phone your local MP? Use our lobbying your local MP guide to help you.
Can you email and phone the Attorney General? Here is a lobbying guide with contact details of the Attorney General to help you.