Who funds the supports you need when you’re in custody?

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You may need a range of support services throughout your life to help you live as independently as you can and pursue your goals.

This can include supports we fund, and supports provided by mainstream and community services such as health, mental health, housing or education. You may also get some supports and services through community services such as church groups, charities, local councils or sporting clubs.

Under the law for the NDIS, all supports we include in your NDIS plan must meet the NDIS funding criteria.

We can’t fund supports that are more appropriately funded by other service systems, such as the justice system, and not the NDIS. 

We must consider the responsibilities of different service systems when we work out who is most appropriate to fund different supports. The law sets out the responsibilities of different service systems, including the justice system. 

Federal, state and territory governments across Australia have also agreed on responsibilities across service systems. They have agreed about:

The information in this section is a summary only. For more detailed information on responsibilities across the NDIS and other services, check out the Applied Principles and Tables of Support .

What supports should the justice system provide?

If you’re in custody, the justice system is responsible for your day-to-day care and support needs. This includes supervision, personal care and general supports. A custodial setting includes a secure mental health facility. When you’re in custody, the justice system will need to provide things like:

  • help with personal care, such as showering, eating and dressing
  • disability-related health supports
  • medical supports that are related to any other health conditions you may have, for example medications for asthma, heart disease or diabetes.

The justice system also needs to make adjustments or changes to their supports or services to make them accessible to you. These are called reasonable adjustments. 

The justice system is responsible for making sure general services in the correctional facility are accessible for your disability. 

This means when you’re in custody, the justice system should provide things like:

  • shower rails in bathrooms, or fixed aids such as hoists, that may be used by you and other inmates
  • access to medical care and services
  • help with communicating and engaging, including Auslan interpreting
  • adapting the building so you can move around it
  • legal assistance services
  • programs in the justice system, for example, drug and alcohol programs and acute mental health interventions or treatments
  • case coordination to help you transition out of a justice setting, including the management of orders, child protection and family support, health, mental health, housing or homelessness services
  • secure mental health facilities that are mainly clinical in nature 
  • transport, for example to and from court hearings.

What NDIS supports can you get while you’re in custody?

We may fund reasonable and necessary supports in custody when: 

  • the supports you need aren’t the justice system’s responsibility to provide
  • it’s appropriate in the circumstances for the NDIS to provide the supports.

The supports will need to meet all our funding criteria.

We may fund things like:

  • some assistive technology, such as a replacement prosthetic limb
  • training for staff in custody, where it’s specifically for your disability support needs
  • capacity building supports that will help you when you’re released, such as support coordination , a recovery coach , occupational therapy or behaviour supports related to your disability.

The justice system is responsible for managing any risks and safety of supports you get when you’re in custody. They’re also responsible for deciding what supports can be delivered in a custodial setting. For example, the justice system may not allow certain types of assistive technology in a custodial setting if it could be a risk to you or others.

The justice system may provide all the support you need while you’re in custody. If so, we’ll still need to create a plan with you but your plan won’t have any funded supports. We’ll talk to you about your situation, and can do a plan review if your disability support needs change.

Learn more about plan reviews.

This page current as of
13 September 2021
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