An intellectually impaired Aboriginal woman will be released from jail next week after being held for 21 months with no conviction.
Rosie Fulton, aged 24, was arrested in 2012 after crashing a stolen car, but was found unfit to stand trial by a magistrate because she suffers from foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and had the mental age of a young child.
Fulton was sent to jail because there was no alternative accommodation available for her in Western Australia, according to a ABC report.
The woman will be transferred from Kalgoorlie Prison in Western Australia to housing managed by the Department of Human Services in Alice Springs.
Aboriginal elders have warned that more children suffering from FAS may soon come into contact with prisons and courts.
“We’ve got to start training our professionals – like the police, like the teachers and people in the health field. These are the kids that need to be dealt with differently,” said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda in an interview with ABC.
There are nine mentally impaired prisoners held without conviction in Western Australia, and 10 in the Northern Territory.
La Trobe University professor Patrick Keyzer said that the government needs to fund facilities for impaired people to live outside of jail.
“The Federal Government really needs to take this issue seriously and sit down with the states and territories and develop a lasting solution,” Keyzer told the ABC.