10 times more likely to have an intellectual disability or autistic disorder

To read on BBC website:

Note: In the UK, the term of ‘Learning disability’ is used instead of ‘Intellectual disability’.

Young adult offenders rethink urged by MPs

Octobre 26, 2016

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There needs to be a major change in dealing with young adult offenders, MPs have said, based on evidence that shows their brains are still developing.

A Commons Justice Committee report says offenders aged between 18 and 25 are 10 times more likely to have a learning disability or autistic disorder.

It said a « lack of action » on these offenders had led many to re-offend.

The government said « significant efforts » had been made to prevent young people ending up in prison.

The committee’s report argues there is a strong case for treating young adult offenders differently because their brains are still developing up to the age of 25 – meaning they are more likely to act impulsively and not weigh up the long-term effects.

It also found those still offending into adulthood were more likely to have learning difficulties or communication disorders, or to have suffered head injuries.

It said flawed interventions, set up by the Ministry of Justice and carried out by the National Offender Management Service, did not recognise young adults’ needs and prevented them getting out of a cycle of crime.

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The number of young adults in the criminal justice system, who are mostly men, has fallen in recent years, but figures suggest 18 to 25-year-olds still account for up to 40% of the criminal caseload.

They also have the highest reconviction rate, with 75% returning to crime within two years of being released.

But the report argued that, while those in this age group offended the most, they also had the greatest potential to stop offending as they « grow out of crime ».

It said age and maturity should be taken into significantly greater account within the criminal justice system and should presume that up to the age of 25 young adults were typically still maturing.

The committee said it welcomed the Ministry of Justice’s commitment to develop a maturity assessment when dealing with young offenders but said that not screening for mental disorders and learning and communication needs was a « missed opportunity ».

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