just want to know how does legal justice deal with someone with autism. say someone with autism had commited a crime because they were very traumatised and depressed. will they still get send to prison or will there be other treatment for them?
Autistic Adrian said:just want to know how does legal justice deal with someone with autism. say someone with autism had commited a crime because they were very traumatised and depressed. will they still get send to prison or will there be other treatment for them?
Refer to the following:
All criminal justice professionals may come into contact with people on the autism spectrum, many of whom may be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Here you will find information about autistic people, tips for initial police contact, interviews and court appearances, ways that parents and carers can help, and where to find further information and training.
Autistic people are more likely to be victims and witnesses of crime than offenders. They experience difficulties with social communication, social interaction and social imagination. They may have sensory difficulties and some coordination problems. Their behaviour may appear odd and can sometimes draw unnecessary attention, but in general autism is a hidden disability and it may not be immediately obvious to other people that the person has a disability.
When autistic people commit offences, it may be for the following reasons.
Initial police contact can exacerbate a difficult situation. The use of handcuffs and restraint may be extremely frightening for someone who does not understand what is happening and may not be able to communicate their fears in an appropriate way. This, coupled with the use of loud sirens, may result in sensory overload, causing the person to try to run away or hit out at people, including the police. The very presence of the police may cause great anxiety to a law-abiding autistic person who has no comprehension of the crime they may have committed.
An autistic person has the right to an appropriate adult.
If the person refuses a solicitor, it may be because they do not understand their role and will feel even more confused when another stranger becomes involved.
When the custody officer asks the person whether they have a disability, most autistic people will say no because the question it is not specific enough.
If the custody officer suspects that the person may have a disability, and contacts the Force Medical Officer, be aware that they may have only limited autism knowledge, and may not recognise that someone has the condition. This could also be true of any social worker who is called. We would advise that a specialist in the field of autism, such as a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, be contacted.
Due to the difficulties autistic people have with communication and social interaction, a police interview can be extremely difficult. The person may appear very able, with a good or even exceptional vocabulary, and there may be no reason for an interviewing police officer to suspect that the interviewee requires additional help.
However, the officer may later find they receive blunt answers, the subject is changed and the individual is reluctant to make direct eye contact. The literal way in which a person on the autism spectrum might interpret language can lead to them giving incorrect answers or becoming anxious.
All these things contribute to an assumption of guilt. Indeed, some of the interrogation techniques used by interviewers could inadvertently elicit false confessions from an autistic person.
Here are some suggestions for interviewing autistic people to help elicit the correct response.
The person may need frequent breaks. Explain clearly that he or she is going to have a break for a specified amount of time and what will happen next. Signs that they are becoming anxious and in need of a break may include repetitive speech, hand-flapping or other repetitive movements, self-injury such as hand biting, shouting or physical behaviour.
If the solicitor recognises that their client has autism or a mental health condition, they might ask to delay proceedings until a psychiatric report can be obtained. In the International Classification of Diseases, autism comes under the heading of 'Mental and behavioural disorders', and under the sub-group of 'Disorders of psychological development'. This offers the magistrate the option to proceed under mental health rather than criminal legislation.
A defendant on the autism spectrum should be assessed for their capacity to understand the proceedings. Some autistic people are unfit to plead in court. The judge or jury can decide on a person's fitness to plead and can draw on as many psychiatric reports as necessary in order to do this.
It is essential to have a report from a specialist in the autism field. Details of a small number of specialists able to act in court cases are available from our Autism Helpline. Sometimes it is easier to obtain a specialist medical report after obtaining medical reports from the person's GP. In some cases, a court may make a hospital order for 28 days for assessment. This will usually be at the local psychiatric unit, where there may not necessarily be an autism specialist.
Witnesses who are on the autism spectrum may need special measures and/or a Registered Intermediary who can help the judge and the lawyers to phrase their questions in a way that the person will understand. At the discretion of the judge, these things can also be put in place for a vulnerable defendant.
Police or the Crown Prosecution Service can request a Registered Intermediary through the Witness Intermediary Scheme by contacting the National Crime Agency Specialist Operations Centre (SOC) at email@example.com or on 0845 000 5463. This is for criminal cases only, and SOC can only take requests from the police or CPS, not from individuals.
say if an autistic person got bullied physically and he got a temper tantrum and push the bully back and run away, how would it be dealt with if a police got involved?