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No One Knows: offenders with learning difficulties and learning disabilities

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Title: No One Knows: offenders with learning difficulties and learning disabilities


1
(No Transcript)
2
No One Knows offenders with learning
difficulties and learning disabilities
3
Presentation
  • People with learning disabilities and the
    criminal justice system
  • The experiences of people with learning
    disabilities
  • Police responses policy and practice
  • Implications and recommendations

4
Prison Reform Trust
  • The Prison Reform Trust works to help people who
    are in prison. We believe that people in prison
    should be treated kindly and that prisoners
    should be helped so that they do not go back to
    prison.

5
Prison Reform Trust
  • The Prison Reform Trust finds out what people
    think about prison and tells the government ways
    in which it can do things better.
  • Sometimes the government listens, sometimes it
    does not.

6
Prison Reform Trust
  • The Prison Reform Trust is independent.
  • That means we do not work for the government. We
    can make decisions for ourselves. We think it is
    important that we are independent.

7
No One Knows
  • The Prison Reform Trust is working on a project
    called No One Knows.
  • It is about what happens to people with learning
    difficulties when they get into trouble with the
    police.

8
No One Knows
  • The No One Knows project will last until October
    2008.
  • At the end of the project we will write a report.
  • The report will tell the government what they
    should do to make things better for people with
    learning difficulties who get into trouble with
    the police.

9
No One Knows
  • No One Knows is supported by a group of people
    with learning difficulties who have been in
    trouble with the police. Some have been to
    prison.
  • The group is called the Working for Justice
    Group.
  • Thank you to members of the Working for Justice
    Group for helping to design these slides.
  • The Working for Justice Group is supported by
    KeyRing Living Support Networks and Avon Forensic
    CLDT.

10
Who are we including?
  • People who have difficulties with certain
    activities that involve thinking and
    understanding and who need additional support and
    help in their everyday living
  • Some of this group may have learning disabilities
    and would, in the wider community, be able to
    access support from community learning disability
    services
  • Others may have impairments covered by the
    Disability Discrimination Act, for example
    autistic spectrum disorders or dyslexia

11
Important to remember
  • One of the most prevalent vulnerable groups
    amongst offenders comprises those who do not have
    an intellectual disability as formally defined
    but who do have much lower cognitive and adaptive
    abilities than do either the general population
    or the offending population
  • (McBrien, 2003)

12
How many people?
  • 7 of prisoners have an IQ of less than 70 and a
    further 25 have an IQ of less than 80 (Mottram,
    2007)
  • 23 of juvenile prisoners have an IQ of less than
    70 (Harrington and Bailey et al, 2005)
  • 20 of the prison population has some form of
    hidden disability that will affect and
    undermine their performance in both education and
    work settings. (Rack, 2005)
  • Between 20 and 50 of men in prison have a
    specific learning disability (Disability Rights
    Commission 2005 memorandum to the Commons Select
    Committee on prison education)

13
How many people?
  • Assuming a prison population of 82,000
  • 5,740 men, women and children with very low IQs
    of less than 70
  • 20,500 with IQs between 71 80
  • 16,400 with a hidden disability that will
    affect and undermine their performance in both
    education and work settings.

14
How many more people?
  • Police custody
  • Courts
  • Probation

15
The experiences of people with learning
disabilities
  • Members of the Working for Justice Group, from
    2006
  • Views of prison staff, published 2007
  • Literature review, published 2007
  • Interviews with 173 prisoners identified by staff
    as having suspected learning disabilities or
    learning difficulties, summer/autumn 2007

16
Research demonstrates that this group of
offenders
  • Are at risk of re-offending because of
    unidentified needs and consequent lack of support
  • Are excluded from elements of the prison regime
    including opportunities to address their
    offending behaviour

17
Prisoner, dispersal prison
  • To lower my risk I have to do ETS but because I
    can't read and write I can't lower my situation.
    I'm just stuck. They are saying that until I can
    read and write I can't do ETS and I can't lower
    my risk. It's hard. Hard dealing with the
    sentence let alone dealing with the stress of not
    being able to do the course. The pressure of
    being here and the pressure of having to do all
    the stuff (cognitive skills programmes) and
    knowing that you'll have to be here longer
    because you can't read and write.

18
Prisoner, womens prison
  • I was in a classroom but because of my reading
    they moved me out to do toe by toe and then I
    can go back when I can read.

19
Continued…
  • Are targeted by other prisoners when in custody
  • They do try and bully you, like pushing you and
    trying to get to the pool table first, but the
    screws have helped.
  • Young offender, YOI
  • People with learning difficulties are targeted,
    like in the showers. Best keep your head down.
    Dont get involved in stuff like education. Just
    bide your time in your cell.
  • Member, W for J Group

20
Continued…
  • Are unable to access prison information routinely
  • I couldnt read any of the documents. They had
    to read them for me but they didnt always have
    time.
  • Theres no help in prison. Its difficult to
    read whats happening, poor sight wasnt
    considered a problem. You dont know whats going
    on.
  • Members, W for J Group

21
Continued…
  • Are more likely to experience difficulties
    staying in touch with family and friends while in
    prison
  • Getting people to write out visiting orders was
    hard. Sometimes I never got mine done because
    its hard to find someone to do it. Prison staff
    were too busy. I missed out on quite a few
    visits.
  • Member, W for J Group
  • I dont know how to use the phone, its that PIN
    thing isnt it? Prisoner, womens prison

22
Continued…
  • Are more likely to experience depression and
    anxiety while in prison
  • Prison is a dark and lonely place. Member,
    Working for Justice Group
  • I cant get used to it, I cant cope with it. I
    want to be with my family, thats all I ask for…
    I sat for days in the pouring rain at my mums
    graveside... I dont like being around other men
    for reasons of abuse in my past. Prisoner, local

23
Continued…
  • Present numerous difficulties for staff who work
    with them, who often lack specialist training for
    working with this group of people
  • It is time consuming and is not resourced
    adequately. It is often the case that it
    conflicts with performance targets. HOLS, Cat C
  • We do our best, often what we have learned as
    parents ourselves, or even from television. Head
    of residence, YOI

24
Continued…
  • Lack of appropriately qualified staff. HOLS, YOI
  • Not knowing who they are or what support they
    need. Head of healthcare, YOI
  • Theres a lack of understanding of the issues by
    senior managers theres no key performance
    target therefore resources are not prioritised.
    Psychology, local

25
At the police station
  • How the police behave to you is sometimes not
    helpful. They should treat you the same as other
    people. They are rough with you. They think
    youre thick. Member, W for J Group
  • They shouldnt hurt you, should they? Member, W
    for J Group

26
At the police station
  • You dont really know whats happening because
    they speak too posh. Young offender, YOI
  • If theyd explained things to me, Id be able to
    do what they said. I was on bail and I wasnt
    allowed to go to certain houses, and I went
    there. I didnt understand it because no-one told
    me what it was about. So I went there, got
    arrested, ended up in the magistrates because Id
    breached my bail conditions.
  • Member, W for J Group

27
In court
  • I didnt understand really. I pleaded guilty
    straight away. I didnt know what he meant when
    he said custodial.
  • Young offender, YOI
  • It was weird. The court was big and there were
    lots of people people could just walk in off the
    streets. I didnt know who they all were.
    Prisoner, Women's prison

28
When asked what court was like
  • It the court was full of sadness and madness.
  • Prisoner, Cat C
  • I dont know really, the judge was alright, he
    didnt get angry or shout, he was nice and
    polite.
  • Young offender, YOI
  • I just felt sick you go backwards and forwards.
    In court the psychology woman said I was like a
    kid. I can talk to people and I like people
    around but I dont think they realised that I
    couldnt read and write very well. They said I
    had learning difficulties. Prisoner, dispersal

29
On probation
  • For a person with learning difficulties, the
    first time in front of a probation officer, how
    can they write a six page report when they have
    only known them for 45 minutes? Its beyond me.
  • I see my probation officer every week and he
    helps me write things down and think about what
    Ive done.
  • Members, W for J Group

30
In prison
  • I had my visiting form sent back because I didnt
    know their last name. I had to wait six weeks for
    the officer to phone and find out their last
    name. Nobody knows everyones last name,
    especially if they cant read. Member, W for J
    Group

31
When asked what prison was like
  • I dont like it, Im never coming in again. Im
    banged up for 24 hours a day. You cant do what
    you want like I wanted tobacco the other day but
    I couldnt just nip down to the shop. Young
    offender, YOI
  • I feel lonely. I feel all alone.
  • Prisoner, Local

32
When asked what prison was like
  • I cant understand some of the forms, or there
    are words that I dont know, and I just get mad
    again. If the girl next door is around she helps
    but shes not always there. I dont ask the
    officers because they just talk about all of us
    and I dont want them talking about my business.
    They just laugh at you. I told one once that I
    didnt go to education because I couldnt read,
    write or spell and I was embarrassed. He thought
    I was joking. Prisoner, Womens prison

33
Leaving prison
  • Theres a kid I know back home with learning
    difficulties he came out of prison, got no help
    and in two days he was back. Thats not long is
    it? Member, W for J Group
  • We really both would like a care worker, someone
    to help us. Steve and James live in a place for
    people with learning difficulties. They get help
    with their budgeting and all sorts of things,
    thats what we want. Prisoner, local

34
Leaving prison
  • Its going to be hard. In here there are no
    responsibilities, outside Ive got to think about
    bills, food, getting a job. They dont prepare
    you for that. Ive only got social services for
    another year and then Ive got to be sorted.
  • Young offender, YOI
  • I will need a lot of help its going to be fast
    and Im institutionalised. When I went to my
    Nans funeral it was fast there were too many
    people there. Young offender, YOI

35
Police responses to suspects with learning
disabilities
  • a review of policy and practice

36
Police responses to suspects with learning
disabilities
  • Pre-arrest and arrest
  • Caution and legal rights
  • Detention
  • Interview
  • Disposal

37
Policy practice
  • Policy diversion into treatment and away from
    the criminal justice system is generally
    encouraged for mentally disordered offenders
  • Practice decision-making on enforcement,
    diversion and disposal options is inconsistent

38
Policy practice
  • Policy an appropriate adult (AA) should be
    called to the police station if a person who is
    mentally disordered or otherwise mentally
    vulnerable has been detained
  • Practice AA provision is patchy because
    suspects needs are frequently not identified,
    and there is a lack of individuals who can
    effectively perform the AA role

39
Policy practice
  • Policy a custody officer has a duty to seek
    clinical attention for a detainee who appears to
    be suffering from a mental disorder
  • Practice in many areas, there is limited
    referral of suspects for clinical attention, and
    there are inconsistencies in the attention
    received from healthcare professionals

40
Policy practice
  • Policy confession evidence is not admissible in
    court if the police had failed to ensure that the
    requisite safeguards were in place during
    interview
  • Practice criteria for assessing fitness to
    interview lack clarity

41
Practice
  • Presentation and follow through of suspects
    rights to legal advice is sometimes poor
  • Though many criticisms have been made of the
    competence and effectiveness of legal advisers…
    there is overwhelming evidence that suspects who
    receive such help are less likely to make
    self-incriminating confessions, and more likely
    to exercise their right to silence.
  • (Clare, 2003)

42
Implications
  • Greater potential for miscarriages of justice for
    people with learning disabilities than for those
    without
  • Potential for non-compliance with ECHR rights,
    the Disability Discrimination Act and,
    specifically the Disability Equality Duty

43
Recommendations
  • Policy development
  • Terminology
  • Special measures
  • PACE provisions and legal advice
  • Criminal responsibility and diversion
  • Assessment for learning disabilities cooperative
    working
  • Fitness for interview

44
Recommendations
  • AA provision
  • Statutory provision
  • Mandatory AA attendance where concerns are
    sufficient to request the involvement of
    healthcare professionals
  • Clarification of AA attendance at charge

45
From members of the Working for Justice Group
  • You should always be able to get an appropriate
    adult (AA) without having to wait for a long time
  • Where the AA is not a family member or close
    friend, s/he should have undertaken training and
    carry proof that they are an approved and trained
    AA. Family members and friends willing to
    undertake the role of AA should be encouraged to
    undertake training

46
From members of the Working for Justice Group
  • The role of AA should be extended to include
    support of defendants with learning disabilities
    in court ideally the AA will be the same person
    who provided support at the police station
  • People with learning disabilities should have a
    choice in who performs the role of AA

47
Recommendations
  • Police forces
  • Screening suspects
  • Police officer training
  • Local AA schemes
  • Strengthen liaison with local health and social
    care
  • Routine review of disposal for vulnerable
    suspects monitor bail decisions

48
From members of the Working for Justice Group
  • Relationships between local community learning
    disability services and local criminal justice
    agencies should be improved
  • Support workers for people with learning
    disabilities should have a better understanding
    of the criminal justice system, including visits
    to courts and police stations, and vice versa

49
From members of the Working for Justice Group
  • Police officers should receive training
  • There should be a scheme similar to Victim
    Support but for suspects and defendants with
    learning difficulties. The scheme should be
    accessible at the police station
  • There should be easy read information on what
    to expect when people enter the criminal justice
    system

50
What can you do?
  • Follow the journey what actually happens to a
    person with learning disabilities when s/he gets
    into trouble with the police in your area?
  • How do the police respond?
  • How do the police know if somebody has learning
    disabilities or requires an appropriate adult?
  • How available are appropriate adults in your
    area?
  • Is there a criminal justice liaison and diversion
    scheme? Are people with learning disabilities
    included? Is there expertise in learning
    disabilities?

51
What can you do?
  • How accessible is information for suspects with
    learning disabilities at the police station?
  • What support is available for defendants with
    learning disabilities in court? How accessible is
    court information?
  • What options are available locally for attendance
    at a community learning disability service as
    part of a community order? Are the courts aware?
  • What support can community learning disability
    services give to probation teams?

52
What can you do?
  • What in reach support can community learning
    disability services give to prison staff?
  • What do the seams look like between the
    police, probation service, youth offending teams,
    courts, prisons, community learning disability
    services and adult social services? What are
    relationships like? How often do you meet? What
    about shared training?
  • What role can Learning Disability Partnership
    Boards play? Is there a co-ordinating role?

53
What PRT will do
  • Conclude research programme and publish, May 2008
  • Dissemination via website, ongoing
  • Agenda for change, summer 2008
  • Campaign, autumn 2008

54
For further information
  • www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/nok
  • Thank you
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