"Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements."
~ Napoleon Hill

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Disability and the Justice System: A First Hand Experience

Trying to wrap your head around how well the criminal justice system deals with persons with disabilities?

"I will go wherever is available, the first bed."

I can't recommend enough this first-hand account - hear Anna Marie Tremoni's interview with Nichele Benn and her mother on CBC's The Current earlier this week. It's one thing to watch the news stories on TV and hear Brenda tell her daughter's story but it's a very different experience to listen to this in-depth interview.

In fact, it's really too bad that some of the people commenting on this article hadn't heard the interview - perhaps they might have woken up and actually learned something.

It's heartbreaking. It's happening now. And it's not *just* Nicehle's reality.

It's good to know that Canada's Justice Minister, Peter MacKay, is "committed to keeping our streets and communities safe". And yet I can't help but wonder just who out there is committed to ensuring safety and justice, not just from individuals with disabilities, but also FOR them.


Anonymous said...

The problem is that community services has too many individuals to care for, and too many of these cases fall between the cracks of mental health or community services. However, if you were to look into the history of these clients, you cannot just blame bi-polar for the reason for the Amanda Murphy assault charges. Have there been many assualts done by this woman?I'm guessing yes. And her family.. How long has she been apart from them? I'm guessing they haven't been able to manage her for years and she's probably been in and out of instutitions and group homes. You are right, more policies do need to come into play for housing. However, letting serious offences be pushed under the rug by saying she is either cognitively delayed and/or has a serious mental illness is not solving the problem.

Michelle Morgan-Coole said...

Thank you for you comment, but I am afraid you are missing the point a bit. It's not about Amanda's bipolar or epilepsy (although I am sure they play a role). The point is that she has the cognitive ability of a 5 year old.

But that's okay because I have been thinking that I really need to do a wrap-up post and you have given the necessary motivation. Hopefully tonight!