Offenders with intellectual disabilities: an exploration of prevalence and transitional care experiences
MetadataShow full item record
Background Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) represent a particularly vulnerable population within Criminal Justice System. Uncertainty remains in relation to the proportion of prisoners with intellectual disabilities within the UK. This presents challenges in service provision and development across both custodial and secure settings. Concurrent reforms in legislative practice and developments in models of offending behaviour have resulted in a development of community-based services for offenders with intellectual disability. Provision of good quality transitionary care for this population presents remains challenging and there is an increasing need to develop a more collaborative and person-centred measure of the ‘successfulness’ of these transitions. Methodology A systematic review was completed regarding the prevalence of ID in UK prisons and methodological quality was explored. This aimed to inform research, professional practice and service development. An empirical study employed the qualitative methodology of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to explore the transitionary experiences of offenders with ID across secure settings. This was aimed to address gaps in the existing literature and address over-dependence on traditional post-transition outcome measures. Results Systematic review findings demonstrated ID prevalence rates between 0% - 8.5% of the UK prison population. Studies were found to be of moderately low methodological quality and results must be interpreted with caution. Empirical study findings identified five master themes in relation to transitionary experience: Relationships with Staff, Lived Experience of Transition, Steps towards Freedom, Community Embeddedness and Different Concepts of Self. Conclusions Suggestions are provided for future research in relation to the need for more accurate estimates of ID prevalence in UK prisons with better adherence to standard diagnostic criteria for ID. The importance of screening for intellectual disabilities in prison populations is discussed and implications for professional practice are considered. In relation to the empirical study suggestions are provided for future research in relation to active participation of individuals with intellectual disabilities. The importance of employing newer models of offending behaviour in professional practice is considered.