Criminal Justice system needs greater understanding of autism

Autism Community: Mental Health and Suicide

30 November 2017
Volume 632

Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) (Lab): Does the hon. Lady agree that mental health issues for adults with autism can arise out of the way in which they are treated when they encounter the criminal justice system? The behaviours that sometimes accompany autism can be misinterpreted by people in the criminal justice system. Does she agree that we need not only to get the health provision right but to ensure that the people working in the criminal justice system understand about autism and take it into account when they meet adults with the condition?

Dr Cameron: Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with that point. I have personal clinical experience of that through working across a variety of secure hospitals and prisons in my practice with the NHS. People with autistic spectrum disorder often find themselves caught up in the criminal justice system, which has little awareness of their needs or of the support that they require. When they get caught up in the system, it is difficult for them to move on and rehabilitate because the provision simply is not there.

(Hansard Link)