A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system: phase 1 from arrest to sentence

Document type
Report
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. HM Inspectorate of Probation; Great Britain. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary; Great Britain. Crown Prosecution Service. Inspectorate
Publisher
Criminal Justice Joint Inspection
Date of publication
1 January 2014
Subject(s)
Offenders, Mental health services, Criminal Justice Services
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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An accurate estimate of the number of people with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system is impossible because of poor interpretations, about what constitutes a learning disability and a failure to properly identify and record this issue by all the key agencies at all points in the criminal justice process. The specific findings of this inspection are to a great extent a manifestation of these problems of definition and identification. As a result, the needs of offenders with learning disabilities are often overlooked and, although there were some pockets of good practice and examples of practitioners ‘going the extra mile’ to ensure that these offenders received the support and treatment they needed, examples of good practice were the exception rather than the norm.

Offenders with learning disabilities were not always afforded the level of service appropriate to the risk of harm they presented or their needs. Problems included a failure to recognise a learning disability, and failure to refer the offender to specialist services for assessment. The inspectors regularly found an absence of access to specialist support that would address their offending behaviour and manage the risk of harm posed to the public.

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