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A new report, People with mental health disorders and the cognitive impairment in the criminal justice system, by the University of New South Wales and Price Waterhouse Coopers, models the cost-benefits of introducing diversionary programs early in life for people with mental health disorders and cognitive impairment.
Researchers found that early and intensive support could help people avoid a lifetime in the criminal justice system and save the community millions of dollars.
'Justice reinvestment not only offers significant savings but it also has the ability to improve lives and well-being,' said Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes.
'The case studies and costs are real and the cost-benefit modelling is based on services currently available in the community but not widely used,' report co-author, Professor Eileen Baldry said.
Other case studies presented in the report highlight the significant savings that could be made by providing early access to support programs to improve health, education and well-being.
The report supports the Commission's existing work on access to justice for people with disability. The results of this work will be released in December 2013.
Source: Australian Human Rights Commission