Bennett Brook Disability Justice Centre

THE State Government will implement recommendations for the Bennett Brook Disability Justice Centre, despite the report authors stating their opinions were based on predictions.

The five-month-old Lockridge centre is WA’s first alternative to prison for people with disabilities or impairments who are unfit to plead to criminal charges.

Completed by retired Supreme Court Justice Peter Blaxell and Edith Cowan University Professor Colleen Hayward, the report was commissioned after two residents scaled a fence and absconded on New Year’s Eve last year.

On Tuesday, the Eastern Reporter reported Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly’s calls for the Government to release the review after a two-month wait.

The Government will implement all five recommendations including to conduct a formal operations review in 2017, record breaches of leaves of absences and subsequent punishment, offer more activities to detainees and modify individual development plans.

They will also start an education program to ensure more lawyers were aware of the programs available at the centre.

However, today Mr Kelly said it did not address the major concerns the community had about the centre.

“When the Minister (Helen Morton) set up the report she said ‘I’m keen to make sure the review can give peace of mind to local residents’ – this report doesn’t do that,” he said.

“The main concerns the residents have are where it’s located, it’s locate in a residential setting close to schools.”

Mr Kelly said he was concerned the authors stated that as centre had only been operating for five months with no more than three residents; “we have difficulty in arriving at any firm conclusions as to the effectiveness of its plans, programmes and services”.

“Our opinions in that respect are necessarily based upon our predictions as to the likely outcomes rather than on assessments of the progress achieved to date,” the report stated.

An internal security review was also completed on how to improve perimeter security and operational procedures.

Changes based on the confidential review will be implemented.

More to come in Tuesday’s Eastern Reporter.