People with intellectual disabilities missing from mental health announcement

Media Release
19 July 2017
IHC is questioning why people with intellectual disabilities are invisible in new prison mental health plans unveiled today by the Government, at a cost of $14 million.
“These plans fail to address the fundamental needs of many people in the justice system,” says IHC’s Director of Advocacy, Trish Grant.
“Despite there being an alternative process for people with intellectual disabilities under the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act, far too many are ending up in the prison system without adequate ongoing support.”
“Far too often intellectual disability and poor mental health combine, leaving people totally isolated and vulnerable in our prisons,” says Trish.
“The Supported Living service is a start – but it only provides temporary help on release from prison.”
“The undiagnosed foetal alcohol spectrum disorder suffered by Teina Pora is an example of the corrections system missing the very real health problems of inmates with intellectual disabilities.”
The problem is further compounded by a crisis in the provision of secure units, highlighted earlier this month by senior psychiatrists.
“We would very much like to hear the Corrections Department outline how it plans to cater specifically for people with intellectual disabilities as part of this plan, as they seem to have been forgotten,” says Trish.
Media contact:
Tim Graham
IHC New Zealand
022 079 0699