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Journal article

Minister promises justice in court

Author:
McINTYRE Peter
Journal article citation:
Viewpoint, 26, March 1998, p.8.
Publisher:
Mencap/Gateway

Reports on how the campaign to change the way that people with learning disabilities are treated by the criminal justice system took a step forward at A Fair Hearing conference organised by Community Care and the Law Society.

Journal article

Experiences of people with learning disabilities in the criminal justice system

Authors:
HYUN Elly, HAHN Lyndsey, McCONNELL David
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42(4), 2014, pp.308-314.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

The aim of this review is to synthesise findings from research about the experiences of people with learning disabilities who have faced arrest and jail time. After an extensive search of the literature, four relevant articles were found. The first-person accounts presented in these four studies were pooled, and a thematic analysis was undertaken. Three common themes were identified: (i) study participants did not understand what was happening to them, or why, (ii) they felt alone, and they did not know where to turn, or to whom for support and (iii) they were uncertain about what to say or do. Overall, the findings raise concerns about the treatment of people with learning disabilities in the criminal justice system and their access to procedural justice. Further research is needed to improve understanding of their experiences and support needs. There is unequivocal evidence that persons with learning disabilities are over-represented in the prison population. To date however, few studies have investigated their first-hand experience, including their experiences of being interrogated, of standing trial, serving time and transitioning back into the community. The purpose of this review is to draw what insights we can from the limited available data and to identify directions for future research. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

Young people within the criminal justice system: making sense of fitness to plead and mental capacity in practice

Author:
HEPWORTH Karina
Journal article citation:
Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, 2(4), 2011, pp.170-177.
Publisher:
Emerald

Early recognition of a person's mental capacity are crucial to ensure the right pathway is taken through the criminal justice system. Whether this be supporting the person to undertake their Order and delivery of an appropriate and understandable intervention or diversion away from the criminal justice system into services. Information sharing and working together are key factors to success. As a learning disability nurse within a Youth Offending Service, the author encounters young people on court Orders who struggle to understand the criminal justice process. To highlight the significance of this, and its relationship to practice, the article discusses a particular young person's case. The author concludes that learning disability nurses and those professionals working within learning disability services have a significant part to play in this area of work and can help to ensure that people with learning disabilities do not face injustice.

Book Full text available online for free

Prosecution of offenders with mental health problems or learning disabilities

Authors:
MAGILL Christine, RIVERS Vanessa
Publisher:
Great Britain. Crown Prosecution Service
Publication year:
2010
Place of publication:
London

In November 2009, the Health and Criminal Justice Programme Board published its National Delivery Plan (NDP), which incorporates a full Government response to the recommendations of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System. It sets out a strategic framework and five cross-departmental objectives. The latter are underpinned with key deliverables for relevant Government Departments, including the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Key findings suggest that the CPS should continue to take forward work with the police to improve the completeness of monitoring data on the disability of offenders. CPS Areas should continue to deliver training locally, using a nationally agreed package, to their prosecutors as required. CPS Areas should consider establishing contact and fostering better links with local Primary Care Trusts, to increase awareness of criminal justice needs and to facilitate prosecutors' understanding of the nature of local services. Also, The CPS should revisit its guidance to see if there is scope more clearly to set out the circumstances when it would be appropriate to issue a Conditional Caution in cases involving mentally disordered offenders.

Book Full text available online for free

Adults with learning disabilities and the criminal justice system: their rights and our responsibilities: report of a summit held in Glasgow on 27 October 2008

Author:
SCOTLAND. Scottish Government
Publisher:
Scotland. Scottish Government
Publication year:
2009
Pagination:
35p.
Place of publication:
Edinburgh

In April 2008, the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland reported on the case of a woman with a learning disability who was repeatedly sexually abused over many years. Although some of these offences were reported to the police, no one was prosecuted, in part because the complainer was judged not to be a competent witness. The Commission’s report Justice Denied concluded that the woman, known as Ms A, was effectively denied justice, and raised the possibility that this case was not an isolated example. In response to the report, the Scottish Government is taking the recommendations into account to ensure that the justice system continues to improve the protection and support for victims and witnesses with learning disabilities. This summit was organised jointly by the Health and Justice Directorates of the Scottish Government, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and the Law Society of Scotland, with assistance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Representatives from NHS Scotland, prosecutors, social work, police, the legal profession and voluntary organisations were brought together to consider the best way forward. People with learning disabilities played a prominent part in the day’s proceedings.

Journal article

Unequal justice

Author:
FAREED Faiza
Journal article citation:
Viewpoint, November 2006, pp.16-19.
Publisher:
Mencap/Gateway

The author reports on the work of Liverpool’s Investigations Support Unit which works to support people with a learning disability in the criminal justice system. it provides witness support, preparation and profiling for people with a learning disability giving evidence in court. To date, the unit has worked with 30 witnesses through 27 trials, most alleging serious sexual or physical assault. Of these 18 out of 21 prosecutions have been successful.

Journal article

Perspectives: lest we forget

Author:
TAYLOR Alison
Journal article citation:
Community Care, 21.8.97, 1997, p.16.
Publisher:
Reed Business Information

The author argues that although society cannot afford to ignore dangerous criminal behaviour, the national shame of the hanging of Derek Bentley shows how compassion can desert the justice system.

Journal article

Safely into dock?

Author:
RHEAD Adrian
Journal article citation:
Community Care, 13.3.97, 1997, pp.26-27.
Publisher:
Reed Business Information

People with learning difficulties are particularly vulnerable in the criminal justice system. Explains how social workers can support them.

Book

Victims with learning disabilities: negotiating the criminal justice system

Authors:
SANDERS Andrew, et al
Publisher:
University of Oxford. Centre for Criminological Research
Publication year:
1997
Pagination:
187p.,bibliog.
Place of publication:
Oxford

Research study examining the problems experienced by victims of crime who also have learning difficulties and who are faced with coping with the criminal justice system. Based on questionnaires and an analysis of seventy-eight cases in which one or more victims were learning disabled. Suggests reforms within the criminal justice system which would not undermine safeguards for suspects and defendants.

Book

You're on trial

Authors:
HOLLINS Sheila, MURPHY Glynis, CLARE Isabel
Publishers:
Gaskell, St. George's Hospital Medical School
Publication year:
1996
Pagination:
40p.
Place of publication:
London

Booklet designed to provide guidance for people with learning difficulties or mental health needs caught up in the criminal justice system.

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