17th Reintegration Puzzle Conference

Rydges World Square, Sydney
19th-21st June 2024

Stepping Up

Mr Benjamin Waters

Founder & Graduate Research Student
Project 1in70 & Torrens University

Ben Waters is an autistic person with lived experience in the criminal justice system (CJS), he is currently a graduate research student looking at using the lived experiences of those with autism to develop better policy frameworks for the CJS. Ben is also a former policy and political adviser with experience in Australia and the UK. Ben also has a range of mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions, with his autism only diagnosed in 2018 at the age of 37. Ben’s journey within the CJS began in 2021. Ben's autism and mental health were represented poorly in the media, with one headline suggesting he ‘Weaponised his Autism’. There was also considerable stigmatisation, misunderstandings, and no supports available related to his autism and mental health from within the entire CJS, including forensic health and mental health services. Ben’s story is not about blaming but demonstrating the difficulties people living with individual needs face in the CJS. Ben’s experiences and professional background immediately highlighted to him that these systems were failing not only him but also the many others he saw through his journey. Ben and his sister together formed Project1in70 aimed at educating, informing and challenging governments, CJ professionals and the community on these important issues. Ben’s research complements the work of Project1in70 by investigating how the voices of those with autism can inform the design of appropriate support systems and training programmes within CJS institutions.

Major Sponsor

Minor Sponsor