James is 23 years of age. He has been unemployed since officially leaving school aged 15 years but in fact educational achievement has not been recorded since the 5th grade. James has no fixed place of abode and most recently lived in a homeless men’s shelter, but currently refuses to say where he lives. He has multiple convictions for shoplifting (food, clothing) and stealing (women’s clothing) and has been assessed several times on magistrates’ referral for mental illness. Reports provided suggest that he is marginally intellectually disabled, anxious but not identifiably mentally ill.
His father lives interstate but he and James have no relationship, as when James was 2 years of age, his father murdered his mother. His paternal grandmother cared for James after that time until she ‘surrendered’ him to welfare authorities aged 5 years, as she felt unable to cope. He then went to live for a time with his elderly and infirm maternal grandmother then aged 82, until she died when James was 10 years of age. At the time of her death she was suffering dementia and severe vision impairment, and it appears James had been her primary carer for at least 10 months.
The home environment when she died was described as a hovel, and James was reported to be smelly, unkempt and illiterate. James was placed in foster care, however suffered repeated placement breakdowns associated with his behavioural outbursts, lack of social awareness and constant refusal to attend school. James says very little about himself, is quiet and apologetic and picks obsessively at his fingernails. He sometimes is observed rocking silently in a chair.
He rarely makes decisions about his life and seems to be buffeted along by others.