Defendants with intellectual disability and autism spectrum conditions: the perspective of clinicians working across three jurisdictions
Jane McCarthy, Eddie Chaplin, Susan Hayes, Erik Søndenaa, Verity Chester, Catrin Morrissey, Clare S. Allely, Andrew Forrester
The treatment of vulnerable defendants by criminal justice systems or correctional systems varies within and between countries. The purpose of this paper is to examine three legal jurisdictions – New South Wales in Australia; Norway; England and Wales – to understand the extent of variation in practice within the court systems for defendants with intellectual disabilities (ID) and/or autism spectrum conditions (ASC). Two of the jurisdictions had a process for screening in place, either in police custody or at court, but this was not universally implemented across each jurisdiction. All three jurisdictions had a process for supporting vulnerable defendants through the legal system. Across the three jurisdictions, there was variation in disposal options from a mandatory care setting to hospital treatment to a custodial sentence for serious offences. This variation requires further international exploration to ensure the rights of defendants with ID or ASC are understood and safeguarded.