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Characteristics of prisoners with neurodevelopmental disorders and difficulties

Mccarthy, J., Chaplin, E., Underwood, L., Forrester, A., Hayward, H., Sabet, J., Young, S., Asherson, P., Mills, R. and Murphy, D. 2016. Characteristics of prisoners with neurodevelopmental disorders and difficulties. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 60 (3) , pp. 201-206. 10.1111/jir.12237

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Background Previous studies have found high rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID) within the criminal justice system (CJS). However, little is understood about prisoners with neurodevelopmental disorders and difficulties (NDD) or their needs. This study aimed to identify prisoners with NDD and compare their characteristics with prisoners without NDD on a range of socio‐demographic and social functioning measures. Method This was a descriptive, cross‐sectional study carried out using face‐to‐face interviews with 240 participants in a London Category C prison. Standardised tools were used to assess prisoners for ADHD, ASD and ID. Results The study identified 87 prisoners who screened positive for one or more type of NDD. Participants with NDD were significantly younger and more likely to be single [(odds ratio) OR = 2.1], homeless (OR = 3.4) or unemployed (OR = 2.6) before they came into prison. They also had poorer educational achievements that those without NDD. Over 80% of those with NDD had a previous conviction or imprisonment. Conclusions The findings confirm the presence of significant numbers of people with NDD in a male prison. Services across the CJS are required for this group; specifically, there is a need for raised awareness among those working in the CJS to improve the recognition of offenders with NDD. Services in the community need to work with individuals with NDD who are at risk of offending, targeting those who are homeless, unemployed and have poor employment opportunities.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0964-2633
Date of Acceptance: 17 September 2015
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2021 23:47

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