Linda Steele, Disability, criminal justice and law: Reconsidering court diversion. Routledge, 2020.
Through theoretical and empirical examination of legal frameworks for court diversion, this book interrogates law’s complicity in the debilitation of disabled people.
In a post-deinstitutionalisation era, diverting disabled people from criminal justice systems and into mental health and disability services is considered therapeutic, humane and socially just. Yet, by drawing on Foucauldian theory of biopolitics, critical legal and political theory and critical disability theory, Steele argues that court diversion continues disability oppression. It can facilitate criminalisation, control and punishment of disabled people who are not sentenced and might not even be convicted of any criminal offences. On a broader level, court diversion contributes to the longstanding phenomenon of disability-specific coercive intervention, legitimates prison incarceration and shores up the boundaries of foundational legal concepts at the core of jurisdiction, legal personhood and sovereignty. Steele shows that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities cannot respond to the complexities of court diversion, suggesting the CRPD is of limited use in contesting carceral control and legal and settler colonial violence. The book not only offers new ways to understand relationships between disability, criminal justice and law; it also proposes theoretical and practical strategies that contribute to the development of a wider re-imagining of a more progressive and just socio-legal order.
The book will be of interest to scholars and students of disability law, criminal law, medical law, socio-legal studies, disability studies, social work and criminology. It will also be of interest to disability, prisoner and social justice activists.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Reconsidering court diversion
Chapter One: Introducing Court Diversion
Chapter Two: Problematising Court Diversion
Chapter Three: Theorising Court Diversion: Disability
Chapter Four: Theorising Court Diversion: Carcerality and Legality
Chapter Five: The Finer Details of Debilitation Through Law: Introduction to an Australian Diversion Scheme
Chapter Six: Jurisdiction, Disability and Lawful Relations
Chapter Seven: Choosing Carceral Control
Chapter Eight: Disability, Criminal Justice and Law: Beyond Court Diversion
Linda Steele is based at the University of Technology Sydney.