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Services for inmates with a disability

Statewide Disability Services (SDS) addresses the additional support needs of offenders with disabilities. SDS is a multidisciplinary team that works with all offenders with a disability whether in custody or in the community. SDS provides:

  • Assessments, behaviour management, and program facilitation
  • Support, co​​​n​sultation and advice to staff managing offenders with a disability, and other internal and external stakeholders
  • A review process that ensures that issues impacting offenders with disability are adequately addressed via policy and procedure
  • Recommendations and assistance with placement, daily management, program and work options for offenders with disability
  • Advice regarding delivery of programs for offenders with disability so they may address their offending behaviour
  • Staff training
  • Assistive devices for inmates with physical or sensory disabilities
  • Assistance with case management and pre-release planning of offenders with an intellectual disability, which includes facilitating access to the National Disability Insurance (NDIS), or making referrals to Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC) including the Community Justice Program (CJP) and other disability related community service providers. 

To be eligible for service from SDS, an offender must have one or more of the following disabilities:

  • ​Intellectual Disability or low cognitive functioning
  • Acquired Brain Injury (including traumatic brain injury and Alcohol/Drug Related Brain Injury)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Dementia
  • Sensory Disability (Hearing or Vision Impairment)
  • Physical Disability
  • Frail Aged

SDS is responsible for overseeing the:

  • Additional Support Units (ASUs).  There are three ASUs at Long Bay Correctional Centre that house offenders with cognitive impairment.  Offenders in the ASUs may receive:
  • Further assessment of their disability
  • Participation in programs that address offending behaviour
  • Skill development e.g. educational activities that enhance literacy, numeracy and oracy as well as basic employment skills
  • Employment opportunities
  • Case management and pre-release planning. 

Referrals to Statewide Disability Services

If you have a client, friend or family member that has a disability and is in custody or managed by Community Corrections, and would benefit from specialist assistance, please contact SDS - 02 9289 2136 or email sds@justice.nsw.gov.au.

Additional Support Units

What is an Additional Support Unit?

Statewide Disability Services oversees the running of three Additional Support Units (ASUs) within Corrective Services NSW which accommodate offenders who, because of their disability, require placement outside the mainstream correctional centre environment for assessment, general management or to participate in a specific program to address offending behaviour. The majority of offenders placed in these units have an intellectual or other cognitive disability, although some individuals with sensory/physical disabilities may be accommodated.

Where are the Units Located?

MSPC 5 Wing Long Bay Correctional Complex

The Additional Support Unit 5 Wing is a 22 bed maximum security unit.

Whilst in the unit, offenders are required to undertake a number of programs to address factors relating to offending, safety in custody and access to employment. Programs also aim to increase problem solving skills and understanding of their involvement in the criminal justice system. Based on an offender's progress whilst in the Unit, they may be moved into one of the other Additional Support Units or in a suitable mainstream correctional centre.

MSPC 6 Wing Long Bay Correctional Complex

The Additional Support Unit 6 Wing is a  19 bed maximum security unit. Offenders are generally unsentenced and have access to a l range of programs and educational courses and are given the opportunity to participate in employment.

Based on an offender's progress whilst in the Unit, and the outcome of assessment, they may be moved into one of the other Additional Support Units or to a suitable mainstream correctional centre.

MSPC 18 Wing Long Bay Correctional Complex

The Additional Support Unit 18 Wing is a 16 bed minimum security Pre-Release Unit for offenders with cognitive impairment who are nearing the end of their custodial sentence. Programs offered within the unit are designed to address offending behaviour and decrease the likelihood of recidivism. Employment skills, social and interpersonal skills form a significant part of each individual's program. Staff within 18 Wing liaise extensively with community based services (including the National Disability Insurance Scheme and, Ageing Disability and Home Care) to ensure that offenders have appropriate post release supports arranged prior to their release.

Female Offenders

There are no Additional Support Units for women with a disability; however Statewide Disability Services works closely with those correctional centres managing women offenders to ensure suitable placement and effective management.

How are Offenders Selected for Placement in the Additional Support Units?

All offender placements within the ASU are made following recommendations made  by the Statewide Disability Services Placement Committee which meets on a weekly basis (usually every Wednesday at 1 pm). In consultation with the Manager of Security and Manager of Classification and Case Management division, placements are then approved.

In order for an offender to be considered for placement in an Additional Support Unit the following criteria apply:

1.    The offender must have been referred to SDS for assessment or be known to SDS

2.    The offender must be assessed as having an IQ below 80[1] or an Acquired Brain Injury that affects their day-to-day functioning and/or management[2]

3.    The offender must be referred for consideration of placement in an Additional Support Unit by a Corrective Services NSW staff member or an external source

4.    The offender must be suitable for placement.

Due to the limited number of beds available within the Additional Support Units and the nature of cognitive impairment, there are a number of factors taken into account to determine if an offender is suitable for placement. These include:

  • A nee​d for additional care, protection or supervision in the offender's own interests or the interests of others.
  • The offender is unable to cope in a mainstream correctional centre due to their disability, including difficulty with social adjustment and peer relationships.
  • Previous placement in mainstream correctional centres has been problematic and has resulted in repeated transfers between centres
  • The offender needs to participate in the specialist programs offered in the Additional Support Units, including specialist 'Throughcare' planning.
  • There is a need for further assessment pertaining to the offender's disability.

If you have any questions regarding the Additional Support Units, please send an email to SDS@justice.nsw.gov.au and an appropriate staff member will contact you.

________________________________________ [1] The strict clinical definition of Intellectual Disability is not used to determine placement in the Additional Support Units. For placement, SDS uses a higher cut off point in terms of IQ and places a stronger emphasis on functioning. [2] If an offender does not meet this criteria, but there is reason to believe that due to a disability they require placement in an Additional Support Unit they can still be considered. Please contact SDS outlining all relevant information as addressed in this section.​​​

​Additional Support Units

The Additional Support Unit manages offenders who have an intellectual or cognitive impairment, as well as some who may have sensory/physical disabilities.

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