ERIC Number: EJ928114
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
The First Critical Steps through the Criminal Justice System for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities
Mercier, Celine; Crocker, Anne G.
British Journal of Learning Disabilities, v39 n2 p130-138 Jun 2011
This paper deals with the initial steps of the judicial process for persons with intellectual disabilities who are suspected of a minor offense; a stage where plaintiffs, police officers, and crown attorneys make a series of decisions that will have a significant impact on the course of the judicial process. The objective of this study was twofold: (i) to document the criteria that influence dispositions by police officers and crown attorneys about persons with intellectual disabilities in the criminal justice system (CJS), (ii) to report suggested improvements to better support them throughout the judicial process. Fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants from the CJS and from service and community organisations working in the field of intellectual disabilities. The results of this qualitative study indicate that decisions made and dispositions taken rely on a series of implicit criteria that influence the course of the subsequent judicial procedures against persons with an intellectual disability. Suggestions for improvement pertain to developing the screening of intellectual disability procedures, the provision of information to key actors about intellectual disabilities, a preference for the use of summons to appear over other types of procedures, and drafting memorandums of understanding between various organisations and police services regarding persons with intellectual disabilities. In conclusion, an emphasis must be put on screening and diversion procedures for persons with intellectual disabilities when appropriate.
Descriptors: Mental Retardation, Police, Criminals, Justice, Crime, Lawyers, Interviews, Attitudes toward Disabilities, Qualitative Research, Decision Making, Social Attitudes, Legal Responsibility
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A