Vulnerable Offenders: The Rights of Suspects and Accused with Psychosocial and Intellectual Disabilities


People with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities comprise a disproportionate number of the people who are arrested, who come before the courts and who are deprived from liberty. The reasons for this are complex, but are generally attributed to clinical risk factors, such as co-occurring substance use problems and treatment non-compliance, as well as social and systemic factors, such as improperly implemented deinstitutionalisation policies, homelessness and poverty, community disorganisation, poorly funded and fragmented community-based mental health and social services, hospital emergency room bed pressures, overly restrictive civil commitment criteria, intolerance of social disorder, and criminal law reforms.

This report strives to bring together strands of scientific research from various fields, in order to shed some light on people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities and the challenges they face in their interaction with the police and judicial authorities during criminal proceedings.

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