28/01/14 - Joint Inspection
People with learning difficulties not getting the help they need in custody.
Reforms to help reduce reoffending come into force
The needs of many people with learning disabilities are going unnoticed when they are arrested by police, go to court and are sentenced, according to independent inspectors. Today they published the report of a joint inspection into people with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system which said their needs should be recognised and addressed.
The report, A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system: phase 1 from arrest to sentence, reflects the findings of HM Inspectorate of Probation, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Care Quality Commission. The inspection covered activity at police stations, the prosecution and court process, pre-sentence report preparation and the assessment and planning undertaken at the start of the community order.
No clear definition or agreement exists across criminal justice and health organisations about what constitutes learning difficulties or disabilities. Although believed to be a sizeable minority, possibly as high as 30%, there is no way of knowing the number of people with such conditions within the criminal justice system. Adequate provision is, consequently, not always made by the agencies involved to cater for their specific needs.