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Rights Nights presents Mental Health and Criminal Justice

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University of Technology Sydney Law School, Building 5B, Level 1, Moot Court

1 Quay St, Haymarket

Haymarket, NSW 2007

Australia

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People who suffer from a mental illness or have a cognitive disability are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. And even when people commit no crime, they may be involuntarily detained, secluded and restrained, ostensibly for their own protection and for the protection of the community.

Is the current approach right? Does it afford fairness, justice and dignity to those with a mental illness or cognitive disability? Does it appropriately balance those values with the values of deterrence, retribution and rehabilitation, which are paramount in sentencing theory?

On Thursday 7 December, UTS Faculty of Law and the UTS Law Students Society will partner with Rights Nights to present a panel distinguished panel of experts will examine these questions and more, including the role of early community support in preventing criminalisation, the effects of cumulative disadvantage in propelling those with cognitive disabilities and mental health disorders into custody, and how theoretical human rights frameworks should be used to design services to prevent recidivism and entrenched incarceration.

The Panel

Professor Eileen Baldry

Eileen Baldry (BA, DipEd, MWP, PhD) is a Professor of Criminology at UNSW where she has been an academic since 1993. Eileen has held a number of senior positions in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and served as Interim Dean (mid-2015 to 2016), Associate Dean Education (ADE) (2007 to mid-2010) and Deputy Dean (mid-2010 to mid-2015). She has taught social policy, social development and criminology over the past two decades.

In 2016 Eileen was named as one of the inaugural PLuS Alliance Fellows in Social Justice. She also holds the distinguished position of Academic Chair, UNSW Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Board and is the current Deputy Chair of the Disability Council NSW.

Eileen’s research and publications focus on social justice matters and include mental health and cognitive disability in the criminal justice system; education, training and employment for prisoners and ex-prisoners; homelessness and transition from prison; Indigenous social work; community development and social housing; and disability services. She has been and is a Chief investigator on a number of major Australian Research Council (ARC), NH&MRC, Housing and Criminology grants over the past 20 years. She is involved in a voluntary capacity with a number of development and justice community agencies including being a Director on the Board of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). In 2009, the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW recognised Eileen's “indefatigable” support for justice-related causes by awarding her its highest honour: the Justice Medal.

Penny Abbott, Department of General Practice, University of Western Sydney

Dr Penny Abbott is a senior lecturer at the Department of General Practice University of Western Sydney. She is a GP within the women’s health stream of JH&FMHN and has had substantial experience in the Aboriginal community controlled health sector. She is a Board member with JH& FMHN. She has a particular interest in improving access to health care for people in contact with the criminal justice system.

Corinne Henderson, Mental Health Coordinating Council

Corinne Henderson is Principal Advisor/ Policy and Legislative Reform at the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC), the NSW state peak for mental health community managed organisations. Corinne’s role focuses primarily on policy and legislative reform as it relates to mental health, disability, human rights and the law; sector development and best practice approaches. Corinne has led the development of a national strategy to implement trauma-informed care and practice (TICP) across all human services, and co-designed the organisational audit and implementation toolkit TICPOT. Other recent projects include research and professional development training targeted at upskilling mental health workers in the areas of cognitive functioning and supported decision-making; particular important in the emerging NDIS and mental health reform space. Corinne has also been responsible for the NSW Mental Health Rights Manual, and online guide to legal and human rights and the service system that supports people with lived experience of mental health conditions in NSW, now in its 4th Edition. Corinne has a MA in applied psychology, is a sitting member of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal and is a PACFA registered clinical psychotherapist.

Dr Mindy Sotiri, Program Director, Community Restorative Centre

Mindy Sotiri BSW (UNSW) PhD (UNSW) has worked in the area of criminal justice and community post-release as a social worker, academic, community researcher and advocate for almost twenty years. Last year she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to continue her research in the international context. She has been in her current role as the Program Director, Advocacy, Policy and Research of CRC for the last five years, and in this capacity is responsible for researching, developing and implementing evidence based best-practice in post-release support and prisoner reintegration.

Moderator - Associate Professor Nola Ries

Nola Ries has expertise in health law and policy, with a particular focus on: law, ageing and health; legal aspects of health system reform; governance of health research; regulation of health practitioners; public health law; and health technology regulation.

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University of Technology Sydney Law School, Building 5B, Level 1, Moot Court

1 Quay St, Haymarket

Haymarket, NSW 2007

Australia

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