Brain injured stranded in WA prisons

WA's top judge has warned the State faces a "massive" problem dealing with mentally impaired offenders who cannot be cured and should not spend their lives in jail.

Chief Justice Wayne Martin said the number of people before courts with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder was growing.

"The anecdotal evidence from obstetricians in the Kimberley and Pilbara is they continue to see far too many newborn babies who have evidence of the syndrome," he said.

"From talking to the magistrates in those places, they are seeing a lot of people who appear to be plainly affected by that syndrome.

"The problem of excessive drinking probably started around the 1980s and so kids born since then are growing up, they're working their way through the children's court and now into the adult court.

"It's not as if we can give these people drugs or surgery: it's a lifelong condition and the symptoms include poor decision-making, a tendency to pursue short-term satisfaction, an inability to appreciate the consequences of their actions. These are characteristics that are inherently likely to put you in front of a court and to create victims."

Chief Justice Martin said there should be therapeutic solutions, including community care, and laws to give the judiciary more options.

He was speaking after it was revealed an Alice Springs woman was stuck indefinitely in a Kalgoorlie jail after the Northern Territory Government reneged on a promised place in a special care home.

Roseanne Fulton, 24, who has foetal alcohol syndrome, was declared mentally unfit to be tried on driving and behaviour offences in WA and placed on a custody order.

Her adult guardian, former NT policeman Ian McKinlay, said she was bewildered about being in jail without a conviction for 18 months.

He said the NT Government backflipped on an agreement to put her in a secure group home in Alice Springs called Kwiyernpe House.

"They're claiming she's incompatible with the two male clients in that facility," he said.

More than 30,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the NT to help Ms Fulton.

with AAP

The West Australian

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