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Greens senator Rachel Siewart has highlighted the plight of the mentally impaired people who are in jail without charge in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland.
Brooke Boney

25 Feb 2014 - 4:40 PM  UPDATED 25 Feb 2014 - 6:03 PM

The states, territories and federal government are in dispute over whose responsibility it is to provide appropriate care to mentally impaired people in jail.

The Queensland Government is supposed to file a report within 21 days about the mental health state of a prisoner, but in some cases it's taking up to 12 months.

“Under the Queensland legislation, psych reports have to be filed, but we're seeing up to 150 prisoners on remand because they're not being done,” said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda.

In other parts of the country there are people who have been held for a decade without charge, because they are unfit to plead.

“Mostly it's a question of resources; people who should be kept in alternative facilities are being in jails,” said Disability Commissioner,” Graeme Innes.

The federal government says it's a state and territory issue, but they're saying they don't have the money for specialised facilities for people who are unable to plead.

Senator Siewart says she raised the issue three years ago but nothing has been done about it.

“What's the cut through? We just keep hearing the same things from the territories and states,” said Ms Siewart.