Defendants with intellectual disability and autism spectrum conditions: the perspective of clinicians working across three jurisdictions

Jane McCarthy, Eddie Chaplin*, Susan Hayes, Erik Søndenaa, Verity Chester, Catrin Morrissey, Clare S. Allely, Andrew Forrester

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The treatment of vulnerable defendants by criminal justice systems or correctional systems varies within and between countries. The purpose of this paper is to examine three legal jurisdictions–New South Wales in Australia; Norway; England and Wales–to understand the extent of variation in practice within the court systems for defendants with intellectual disabilities (ID) and/or autism spectrum conditions (ASC). Two of the jurisdictions had a process for screening in place, either in police custody or at court, but this was not universally implemented across each jurisdiction. All three jurisdictions had a process for supporting vulnerable defendants through the legal system. Across the three jurisdictions, there was variation in disposal options from a mandatory care setting to hospital treatment to a custodial sentence for serious offences. This variation requires further international exploration to ensure the rights of defendants with ID or ASC are understood and safeguarded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Early online date3 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Autism
  • autism spectrum condition
  • court
  • criminal justice system
  • developmental disability
  • forensic
  • intellectual disability
  • screening
  • vulnerable defendants

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