About 30 Aboriginal people with intellectual impairments are locked up in Australian prisons without charges, ABC’s Lateline reported on March 12.
The report highlighted the case of Rosie Anne Fulton who has spent 18 months in a prison in Kalgoorlie without facing trial or being convicted of a crime. There is no specialist accommodation for people with disabilities in the Northern Territory.
Fulton wants to move to Alice Springs to be closer to her family, but an application to house her in specialist accommodation has been rejected.
Her legal guardian, Ian McKinlay, told the Guardian: “They’re leaving Roseanne in prison, neglected, forgotten and ignored. She is desperately sad and wants to return to the NT. She deserves care and kindness, not prison bars and more abuse."
Below is the text of a petition McKinlay has launched to help campaign for Fulton’s release.
Roseanne is 24 years old, locked in a prison indefinitely – yet has not been convicted of any crime. She has foetal alcohol brain damage, and the NT government is refusing to provide care for her, instead leaving her locked up in prison.
I am her legal guardian. She called me last night distraught, wondering why she is locked in a cold concrete cell, not understanding what she has done wrong, wondering when she will get out.
Roseanne's cycle of abuse and neglect growing up was truly shocking. At five years old she was being traded for sex. After years of abuse, as a young woman she committed some minor crimes, was deemed "unfit to plead" because of her disability – and like many other Aboriginal men and women ended up under indefinite prison-based supervision.
Roseanne has now been in prison for 18 months. She hasn't been convicted of a crime.
The NT government have wiped their hands of her. Despite building a brand new facility to care for people like Roseanne, the NT government is refusing to offer her a secure care placement that would allow her release. But it seems they think it'll save a few dollars keeping her in jail instead of in proper care.
As any parent will understand, it breaks my heart to hear her fragile and distraught voice, knowing there is somewhere better for her to go, and knowing that she continues to suffer because government bureaucracy won’t facilitate her transfer back to Alice Springs.
They're leaving Roseanne in prison, neglected, forgotten and ignored. She is desperately sad and wants to return to the NT. She deserves care and kindness, not prison bars and more abuse.
Please help me get this vulnerable girl into the supported care she needs, and leave our prisons for criminals.
[Sign the petition here.]