Autistic men and women are especially disadvantaged by the prison and criminal justice systems

Serving a prison sentence can be difficult, and even more so if you’ve got an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). The difficulties facing offenders with ASD are not limited to their social vulnerabilities but also their understanding prison expectations and boundaries.  They also face the additional challenges of interpreting the non-verbal communication, that tacitly organises the prisoner hierarchy.

We know that there are high numbers of prisoners in the UK with a diagnoses of ASD; but there are many more  that go undiagnosed because of society and/or the criminal justice system’s (CJS) inability to “look behind the behaviour”.

Currently only one UK criminal justice institution, Feltham Young Offenders, has met the standards to achieve an ‘Autism Friendly Award’, from the National Autistic Society. Accreditation requires supporting offenders across a host of areas of prison life with the aim of reducing the risk of re-offending in this vulnerable prison population.

Siarad Da believes that when CJS professionals have access to training that equips them to use appropriate communication when working with offenders with ASD traits, they will be providing a crucial part to securing better engagement in interventions that help reduce re-offending rates.

To find our more about achieving the ‘The Autism Friendly Award’ visit the National Autistic Society website:

Click here to find out more about specialist accredited training:  ‘Working with Vulnerable Offenders’

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