No one knows: offenders with learning difficulties and learning disabilities: the prevalence and associated needs of offenders with learning difficulties and learning disabilities

Document type
Briefing
Author(s)
Loucks, Nancy
Publisher
Prison Reform Trust
Date of publication
1 March 2007
Subject(s)
Criminal Justice Services, Disabled people
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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The literature review on which this briefing paper is based brings together authoritative research on the prevalence and associated needs of offenders with learning difficulties and learning disabilities. The review demonstrates for the first time the vast hidden problem of high numbers of men, women and children with learning difficulties and learning disabilities trapped within the criminal justice system. 20-30% of offenders have learning difficulties or learning disabilities that interfere with their ability to cope within the criminal justice system.

This group of offenders: are at risk of re-offending because of unidentified needs and consequent lack of support and services; are unlikely to benefit from conventional programmes designed to address offending behaviour; are targeted by other prisoners when in custody; and present numerous difficulties for the staff who work with them, especially when these staff often lack specialist training or are unfamiliar with the challenges of working with this group of people.

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