People under the Act were initially identified using the Total Offender Management System (TOMS) database. Data was obtained through Structured Query Language (SQL) extractions using the SQL Developer program. The sample consisted of those whose sentence type was listed as ‘MIARB’ or ‘M’, indicating that they were under the Act or were deemed unfit to stand trial.
This retrieval method was limited in that it only included people who had entered a custodial facility at some stage while under the Act. If the individual was directly sent to a psychiatric facility after committing the crime and remained there, they did not appear using this retrieval method.
The Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board however kindly provided the review team access to the case files of all people held under the Act, which enabled the identification of the additional cohort of people who never entered prison. These case files included all correspondence to and from the board relating to each individual, such as psychiatric reports, prison reports, and letters from the accused’s lawyers or victims.
Medical records of prisoners held under the Act were also examined via the Department’s ECHO database to determine any general trends in their conditions and treatment.
In addition, a number of interviews and information requests occurred with a variety of stakeholders, including:
- Department of Corrective Services (including staff at prisons, CYJ, and head office staff);
- Western Australian Department of the Attorney General;
- Western Australian Disability Services Commission;
- Western Australian Ombudsman;
- Mental Health Law Centre;
- Western Australian Mental Health Commission;
- State Forensic Mental Health Services;
- Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board; and
- A small number of people held under the Act.