Disabled man in jail isolation

A MAN reported to have the mental age of a five or six-year-old child is being held in isolation in Maryborough Correctional Facility while on remand for violent crimes.

He has been on remand for almost a year. How long he has been held in isolation is unknown.

A source familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anony-mity, described the situation as a failure of society and the legal system.

The source said the 28-year-old man has a brain injury that makes it doubtful that he understands that he is in prison. He is being kept isolated from the general prison population for his and other inmates' protection.

The Justice Department has confirmed that a doctor who has worked in the prison wrote to the department to express concern about the situation.

The letter was forwarded to the Department of Corrective Services.

Corrective Services refused to address The Chronicle's written questions as to whether it was appropriate to hold a man with a profound disability in a standard jail.

Corrective Services would only confirm the age of the man, 28, and that he is on remand for assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault police and wilful damage.

"He was initially received into custody on January 19, 2011, at the Maryborough Correctional Centre and was subsequently transferred to the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre," a spokesman said.

He was returned to Maryborough Correctional Centre on December 9, 2011.

"He has been held on remand since coming into custody. The man's case will be reviewed once the matter is heard in court later this month."

The man is scheduled to appear before court on January 30.

It is understood that before his incarceration, the prisoner was living in a Fraser Coast house with the aid of a full-time carer.

The Chronicle contacted Legal Aid Queensland yesterday to try to determine how the charges were dealt with during the man's first appearance in court.

"Legal Aid Queensland cannot comment on individual matters," Legal Aid Queensland chief executive Anthony Reilly said. "Legal Aid Queensland helps many people in the criminal justice system affected by mental illness or intellectual disability."



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