Why exclude prisoners from the NDIS?

Samaritans CEO

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) prides itself on giving individuals with a disability voice and control to choose their own supports. However, this is not the case for all Australians with a disability.

Individuals with a disability are grossly overrepresented in the criminal justice system in Australia. Statistics reveal that at least half of the prison population has some form of psychological, cognitive or physical impairment. People with disability are more at risk of incarceration and without adequate support are more likely to re-offend and fall into the cycle of recidivism. Exclusion from the NDIS and interruption to much-needed support only increases the chance of a person with a disability reoffending. So why are these people who would benefit the most from individual and specialised support denied the right to NDIS access?

Access to the NDIS for all Australians with a disability, including prisoners, would not only improve the quality of life for the individual but also drastically reduce government expenditure. On average in Australia more than $300 is spent per day, per prisoner. Imagine the reduction in recidivism rates and therefore costs if the estimated 1 in 2 people with a disability in prison received high quality, specialised disability care supported by the NDIS?

Samaritans is a charity that assists thousands of people in need throughout Newcastle & the Hunter.