Evidence review on neurodiversity in the criminal justice system

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has asked HM Inspectorate of Prisons and HM Inspectorate of Probation to carry out an independent evidence review on neurodiversity in the criminal justice system (CJS). HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services is supporting this work.

What we mean by ‘neurodiversity’

We are using ‘neurodiversity’ to refer to conditions that fall under the wider category of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). These include:

  • Learning difficulties and disabilities (like Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Developmental Coordination Disorder)
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, including ADD)
  • Autism spectrum conditions
  • Developmental Language Disorder (DLD, including speech and language difficulties)
  • Tic disorders (including Tourette’s Syndrome and Chronic Tic Disorder)
  • Cognitive, emotional and behavioural impairments caused by Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

What the review involves

There are different strands to the work:

  • a public call for evidence from professionals and those with lived experience of neurodiversity in the CJS
  • a series of round-table events with specific organisations
  • consultation and interviews with selected practitioners and adults involved in the CJS.

We will present key findings and recommendations to the MoJ at the end of March and we plan to publish a report about the findings in summer 2021.

The review covers the whole criminal justice journey for adults. It is part of the MoJ’s commitment that everyone who encounters the CJS is treated fairly, including adults with neurodiverse conditions.

The findings from the review will help the MoJ to improve awareness of neurodiversity in the CJS, giving staff the confidence and knowledge to support adults with neurodiverse needs.

The main aims are that adults with neurodiverse needs can take part in all elements of the CJS, have better access to rehabilitation and reduce their reoffending.

Timings for the review

January 2021

Public call for evidence from professionals (closed)

February 2021

Gathering feedback from adults with lived experience of neurodiversity in the CJS (open)

Round-table events with specific organisations (closed)

Consultation with selected practitioners

March 2021

Key findings to the MoJ

Summer 2021

Publication of final report

Contact us

If you have any questions about this evidence review, please email Helen Ranns, Senior Research Officer at HMI Prisons: helen.ranns@hmiprisons.gov.uk