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Chapter 5 - Overview of Offenders with Autism Spectrum Disorder

from Section 1 - An Overview: Definitions, Epidemiology and Policy Issues

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 May 2023

Jane M. McCarthy
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and University of Auckland
Regi T. Alexander
Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and University of Hertfordshire
Eddie Chaplin
Institute of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University
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While individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) represent a small proportion of the overall offender population, clinical experience and research evidence suggest they are a diverse group who present with specific difficulties, risk management issues and needs that can challenge the criminal justice system. Although methodological limitations mean that an exact figure of how many individuals with ASD enter this system is unknown, within secure forensic settings, the consensus view suggests that offenders with ASD are likely to be over-represented compared to the prevalence in the general population. This chapter touches on why some individuals with ASD offend, how the media views such individuals, opinions of culpability and the impact this may have on their involvement with the criminal justice system. The influence of government legislation is also discussed and how this is shaping services. While progress continues in the assessment and management of individuals with ASD in the criminal justice system, there remains a need for a more informed and unified approach to how individual difficulties and needs are best addressed.

Forensic Aspects of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
A Clinician's Guide
, pp. 48 - 55
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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