Offenders with learning disabilities not getting help they need in prison, say inspectors

The report, A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system: phase two in custody and the community, reflects the findings of HM Inspectorate of Probation and HM Inspectorate of Prisons. The first inspection, published in January 2014, looked at what happened when someone is arrested and in police custody through to when someone first appears in court and is sentenced. Inspectors noted the poor quality of services, inefficient processes and confusion among police, court service and probation staff about what constituted a learning disability. This second inspection presents an equally bleak picture about the experience of offenders with learning disabilities in prison and while subject to supervision in the community.

The first inspection found that 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. The second inspection found that within probation and particularly in prisons, identification of offenders with learning disabilities remained a problem and as a result, the needs of people with learning disabilities were often missed.

You can read the full report here.