Commentary Nigel Beail Head of Psychological Services, NHS Barnsley and Barnsley MBC and Professor of Psychology, University of Sheffield, UK I have always felt pulled two ways when thinking about what should happen to offenders who have learning disabilities. On the one hand I believe they should have the same rights as everyone else to due process in the criminal justice system. On the other hand, when I carry out assessments for the Court of offenders who have learning disabilities who would, if found guilty, be sentenced to a period of time in prison, I find myself thinking of the offenders whom I have visited in prison and thought this place is not really suitable. Some have survived the experience, but many have suffered victimisation from other prisoners. I have therefore tended to recommend alternatives to prison such as specialist placements or community-based treatments with probation. Unfortunately, the evidence base for community alternatives is thin, but what has been published suggests that good outcomes can be achieved (Beail, 2001; Lindsay, 2009; Murphy et al, in press). There are many methodological and ethical obstacles to conducting research on outcomes with offenders in the community (Beail, 2004; Hays et al,
Tizard Learning Disability Review – Pier Professional
Published: Jul 1, 2010
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