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ERIC Number: EJ774546
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1354-4187
What Professionals Think about Offenders with Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System
Cant, Richard; Standen, Penny
British Journal of Learning Disabilities, v35 n3 p174-180 Sep 2007
There is evidence that people with learning disabilities who offend are treated differently within the criminal justice system compared to non-disabled offenders. As their treatment depends on decisions made by professionals within the criminal justice system, this study set out to explore the attitudes of these professionals. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 28 professionals who included custody sergeants, appropriate adults, community psychiatric/forensic liaison nurses, magistrates and judges. The transcribed recordings were analysed using grounded theory. Many responses concerned the fear that people with learning disabilities may not be recognized within the system, thus negating the effect of any plans to adapt the system to take account of them. Other responses could be characterized by two themes: the first focused on the nature of learning disabilities and why the system should be changed to take this into account, and the second concerned a belief that by its very nature the criminal justice system could not be adapted. In conclusion, the implications of professionals' attitudes towards people with learning disabilities in the criminal justice system are discussed in relation to recent legislative changes and policy guidance, to review how the justice system and other services can respond better to the needs of this potentially vulnerable group and how they can ensure that their rights are upheld.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A