The Program | Service
The Queensland Criminal Justice Centre (QCJC) aims to provide a positive way forward by providing accessible and considered resources to focus on and support all stakeholders (e.g. legal practitioners, law students, parents of people with a disability) involved with people with a disability in the criminal justice system, we welcome you to the QCJC.
What does the service provide?
- Legal information on Mental Health issues and the Criminal Justice System.
- Advocacy information for clients, support staff, family members and professionals working in the sector.
Funded By: Legal Practitioners Interest on Trust Account Fund
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CONTACT TASC?
WHY DOES QUEENSLAND NEED QCJC?
Since it commenced, the DLP has represented many people with a disability. This experience has uncovered a plethora of anomalies that predispose people with a disability to substantial injustice. This is exacerbated by an ill-equipped and over-burdened duty lawyer service.
The Courts (and the mental health care system as well as other key stakeholders) are also over-burdened, and do not fully understand, or have the time and resources to properly be provided with and consider issues relevant to “disability”, particularly in relation to penalties and sentences, but also in the wider context of actual criminal responsibility.
The Courts are also constrained by an inappropriate range of penalties and sentences. Exculpatory matters (e.g. ‘insanity’ and “fitness for trial”) are (perhaps unnecessarily) complex in practice and procedure, and it is quite clear that all defendants with a (relevant and significant) disability are not equal before the law when it comes to accessing justice on these “exculpatory” matters. All this of course leads to unjust and “discriminatory” outcomes for people with a disability.
The complexities involved in effectively representing defendants with a disability in the criminal justice system therefore require an in-depth knowledge of a vast range of information and systems. This can only be achieved by relevant and sustained education aimed at all parties dealing with people with a disability and who are before the Courts charged with offences.
The experience and results of the DLP program indicate there is a positive way forward by providing accessible and considered resources to focus on and support all stakeholders involved in dealings with people with a disability in the criminal justice system. The Queensland Criminal Justice Centre (QCJC) aims to provide that, and we welcome you to the QCJC.