Bennett Brook Disability Justice Centre ‘nearly empty’

The disability justice centre in Caversham.
The disability justice centre in Caversham.

A THIRD resident could move in to the Bennett Brook Disability Justice Centre four months after the $8.47 million facility in Caversham opened.

On September 12 the Eastern Reporter broke the story that since opening in August, the centre has housed two people, despite being designed to house up to 10 men and women.

The facility was established by the State Government as an alternative to prison for people aged 16 and over with intellectual and cognitive disabilities charged, with but not convicted of, an offence.

The first residents moved in on August 20, with the Lord Street centre staffed 24 hours a day.

Disability Services Minister Helen Morton said she was waiting for details of another person assessed and recommended by the Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board (MIARB) for placement at the centre. “Once those details are received I will make the final assessment and decision on placement,” she said.

“I understand there are other people in the justice system who are being considered for placement.

“The MIARB will forward its recommendations to me when assessments are completed.

“The MIARB undertakes a careful, deliberate process to ensure people recommended to reside in the centre will be well served by this decision, and that community safety will not be compromised.”

Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly said the centre was a “terrible” waste of money, with a facility costing more than $8m sitting almost empty.

“But to be honest the community would say the fewer inmates the better,” he said. “It should never have been built in a residential area and so close to a school.”