Prisoners With Neurodevelopmental Difficulties: Vulnerabilities For Mental Illness & Self-Harm

Journal article


McCarthy, C., Chaplin, E., Forrester, A., Underwood, L., Hayward, H., Sabet, J., Young, S., Mills, R., Asherson, P. and Murphy, D. (2019). Prisoners With Neurodevelopmental Difficulties: Vulnerabilities For Mental Illness & Self-Harm. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health.
AuthorsMcCarthy, C., Chaplin, E., Forrester, A., Underwood, L., Hayward, H., Sabet, J., Young, S., Mills, R., Asherson, P. and Murphy, D.
Abstract

Background: Research into neurodevelopmental disorders in adult offenders has tended to be disorder specific, so hindering service planning for a group of offenders with similar vulnerabilities.

Aims: To examine vulnerabilities for mental illness and self-harming behaviours among male prisoners screening positive for a range of neurodevelopmental difficulties – including but not confined to disorders of intellectual ability, attention deficit hyperactivity and in the autistic spectrum.

Method: In a cross-sectional study, prisoners who screened positive for neurodevelopmental difficulties were compared to prisoners who screened negative for them on indicators of suicide related and self-harm behaviours, mental illness and substance misuse using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI).

Results: Of 87 prisoners who screened positive for neurodevelopmental difficulties, 69 had full MINI mental health data. In comparison with 69 neurotypical men in the same prison, the neurodevelopmental difficulties group were significantly more likely to have thought about self-harm and suicide in the last month and to have significantly higher rates of concurrent mental disorders including psychosis, anxiety, depression, personality disorder and substance dependency disorders.

Conclusions: This is one of the first studies to examine the mental health of adults with neurodevelopmental difficulties in a prison setting. This group, unlike those who meet diagnostic threshold are not routinely considered by mental health or correctional services. The study found prisoners with neurodevelopmental difficulties showed greater vulnerability to mental disorder and thoughts of suicide and suicide related behaviours, than other prisoners;. Accordingly, we recommend routine early screening across the criminal justice system for any neurodevelopmental difficulties in order to inform decision making on the most appropriate disposal and support.

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Prisoners With Neurodevelopmental Difficulties: Vulnerabilities For Mental Illness & Self-Harm, which has been published in final form in Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions

Year2019
JournalCriminal Behaviour and Mental Health
PublisherWiley
ISSN0957-9664
Publication process dates
Accepted09 Oct 2019
Deposited14 Nov 2019
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/8879x

Accepted author manuscript

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