Colin Dale (Caring Solutions, Southport, UK)

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour

ISSN: 2050-8824

Article publication date: 12 June 2017



Dale, C. (2017), "Editorial", Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 57-58. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIDOB-05-2017-0006



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Welcome to the international themed edition of the journal with contributions from Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Zambia. The papers explore the legal and practical issues involved in the various jurisdictions and provide a contrast to the systems in operation in the UK.

As we went to print we heard the sad news of the death of Dr William (Bill) Lindsay a leader in the field of learning disability and one of our editorial team. Professor John Taylor, a long time professional colleague and friend of Bill, provides a fitting tribute to Bill’s life and career.

Jessica Jacobson, Birkbeck, University of London; Philip Sabuni, Paralegal Alliance Network Ltd, Lusaka, Zambia; and Jenny Talbot of the Prison Reform Trust describe disability and the criminal justice system in Zambia.

Drawing on research conducted in 2013-2014, this paper considers the extent and nature of disadvantage experienced by individuals with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities (PID) who come into contact with the criminal justice system in Zambia.

The authors explain that people with PID in contact with criminal justice services in Zambia are disadvantaged and discriminated against routinely and systematically. Like all detainees, they experience harsh and at times brutal conditions of detention. However, because of their disabilities, such experiences can be more keenly felt: their disabilities may be exacerbated by detention or by limited or non-existent health care; and they are likely to be less resourceful than other detainees and, therefore, less able to cope with the privations of detention.

In drawing on the self-advocate interviews, this paper presents direct, vivid accounts of what it means to be a suspect, defendant or prisoner with disabilities in Zambia. These are extremely marginalised and multiply disadvantaged individuals whose voices are rarely heard.

Lino Faccini, New York, USA and Clare Allely, the University of Salford consider the rare instances of individuals with autism supporting or engaging in terrorism.

Their paper presents several cases where individuals with autism are involved in making a naïve, empty terroristic threat, or uttering serious serial terroristic threats. Other cases are also presented of individuals being at risk of an abduction or being used by a terrorist group, and finally committing an act of domestic lone wolf terrorism.

Currently law enforcement focussing on a “preventive” approach to terrorism is argued as not applicable to the solitary, “lone wolf” terrorist. The paucity of research (including case studies) examining individuals with ASD who engage in terrorism has limited the criminal justice system understanding of how the diagnosis of autism may have presented as a contextual vulnerability. The authors argue that justice, rehabilitation and management personnel should be informed by an understanding of the person’s diagnosis of ASD.

Malorie Watson and Aaron Kivisto of the University of Indianapolis review the inventory of Legal Knowledge (ILK) and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (ID).

The authors explain that adults with ID entering the legal system in the USA are at heightened risk of being incorrectly labelled as malingering. The ILK was recently developed to assess response style of individuals undergoing competency to stand trial evaluations. This paper presents preliminary data on the utility of the ILK with adults with ID.

The authors findings do not support the use of the ILK with adults with ID; they call for the development of novel malingering measures that can be used in the context of assessments with adults with ID as a way forward.

David Bathgate, a New Zealand Psychiatrist, provides some reflections and questions on what New Zealand services might usefully learn from the UK on the management of people with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder who become involved with the criminal justice system. This is based on a brief overview of the limited literature around ASD and offending, David’s own professional experience working in New Zealand and him having a short-term sabbatical in the UK working in a medium secure unit.

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