Mental Health, Autism & Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts

Information for magistrates, district judges and court staff

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c. How many people who offend have a learning disability? - Film Clip

Film clip 4 (06:07 mins)

Three people talk about their learning disability, how they came into contact with criminal justice, and their experiences of the criminal justice system.

It is generally acknowledged that between 5 and 10% of adults who offend have learning disabilities, compared to slightly more than 2% of the general population (Department of Health, 2001).

Around a quarter of children (under 18 years) who offend have very low IQs of less than 70 (Harrington and Bailey et al, 2005). This does not mean that around a quarter of children who offend have learning disabilities, but they will have support needs similar to those of people with learning disabilities.

“As a relatively new magistrate with over 20 years working in the learning disability field, I have been surprised by how many people with a learning disability appear before the bench. I have seen at least two people a day with an undisclosed learning disability.” Wayne Crocker, magistrate, Director, Mencap Cymru

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