Characteristics of prisoners with intellectual disabilities

Journal article


Chaplin, E, McCarthy, J, Underwood, L, Forrester, A, Hayward, H, Sabet, J, Mills, R, Young, S, Asherson, P and Murphy, D (2017). Characteristics of prisoners with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. 61 (12), pp. 1185-1195.
AuthorsChaplin, E, McCarthy, J, Underwood, L, Forrester, A, Hayward, H, Sabet, J, Mills, R, Young, S, Asherson, P and Murphy, D
Abstract

Background Previous studies have found high rates of intellectual disabilities (ID) in prison. However, little is understood about prisoners with ID. This study aimed to identify prisoners with ID and compare their characteristics with prisoners without neurodevelopmental disorders with regards to demographic profile, mental health, suicide risk and offences. Method This was a descriptive, cross-sectional study carried out using face-to-face interviews with 240 participants in a London Category C prison. Standardised tools were used to assess prisoners for ID and mental disorder. Results The study identified 18 prisoners as having ID. Participants with ID were less likely to be from a black or minority ethnic background, be over 35 years of age or have any qualifications. They were more likely to have been single, homeless or unemployed before coming into prison. Prisoners with ID were significantly more likely to have mental health problems and 25% had thought about suicide in the last month and 63% had attempted suicide in the past. Prisoners with ID were also more likely to be housed in the vulnerable prisoners wing and significantly more likely to have committed robbery than other prisoners. Conclusions The findings confirm the presence of significant numbers of people with ID with high levels of mental illness in a male prison. Services across the CJS are required for this group, specifically, there is a need for: raised awareness among those working in prison about ID, and improved skills to recognise offenders with ID and address major gaps in current healthcare provision in prison.

Keywordsintellectual disabilities; forensic mental health; neurodevelopmental disorders; suicide; mental illness; prison; 13 Education; 11 Medical And Health Sciences; 17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences; Rehabilitation
Year2017
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Journal citation61 (12), pp. 1185-1195
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
ISSN0964-2633
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/jir.12441
Publication dates
Print20 Nov 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited29 Nov 2017
Accepted13 Oct 2017
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC 4.0
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/86wwq

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