Justice centre study concern

On January 20, Disability Services Minister Helen Morton said the report would take about a week to finish. But last week, the minister said it would be tabled in parliament this month.

The centre was intended to be a humane service for people accused of a crime, but who are mentally unfit to stand trial.

It is understood to currently house three detainees.

Lockridge residents’ concerns about the centre’s proximity to homes and schools reached breaking point on New Year’s Eve last year when two detainees escaped.

Following pressure from residents, Ms Morton announced an analysis of the plans, programs and services for residents at the eight-month-old centre, carried out by retired Supreme Court Justice Peter Blaxell and Edith Cowan University Professor Colleen Hayward.

Mr Kelly said while the report was not set to address the centre’s location – residents’ main concern – they still wanted to see its results.

“The report was only supposed to have taken a couple of weeks to complete. Why has it taken the Government months to release it?” he said.

“What’s in it that the Government doesn’t want people to see?”

Mr Kelly said to add to residents’ concerns, Disability Services Commission executive director Jon Peach had left his role.

“People are still very concerned about the whole situation and they think it’s curious there’s been another apparent change of leadership and the report seems to have fallen into a hole,” he said.

“They brought in (Jon Peach) from Corrective Services to give |people more confidence around security issues. He supposedly beefed up security arrangements at the centre.

“When those two blokes climbed the fence and left the centre on New Year’s Eve, that just proved that was a failure.”

Ms Morton said a separate internal security review had been completed, but would not be released because it contained confidential information about the centre’s design and operations. “Changes are being made in response to the report’s recommendations,” she said.

“Also, the centre’s disability justice officers have received additional training in restraint and escort procedures, and operational procedures and protocols associated with the centre’s security are constantly being reviewed.”