Training on the Criminal Justice System
KeyRing helps raise awareness of Learning Disabilities within the Criminal Justice System.
The latest training project that KeyRing is involved with is the Equal and Fair project. Click here to find out more, including details of how you can get free learning disability awareness training for your area of the criminal justice system.
In 2007, KeyRing and the Skillnet Group (now Bemix) were commissioned by the Department of Health to co-design a learning disability awareness training package. This was then delivered to over 600 staff from all prisons in England and Wales. The people trained worked in a range of roles. The Disability Liaison Officer was trained from each prison as well as someone from Healthcare and someone from Induction or Reception.
The feedback on the training was very positive. Many said how much having a co-trainer with learning disabilities improved the training. Staff said they liked the simple but effective adjustments that were suggested, such as changing communal clocks to digital to help people know the time, and they recognised that these could make a significant difference for someone with a learning disability in prison. Please contact Neisha Betts (Neisha.Betts@Keyring.org) for a copy of the training evaluation report.
A DVD was also created by the Skillnet Group and the Working for Justice group for use in awareness training. It includes interviews with people with learning disabilities who talk about their experience and views of being in the Criminal Justice System as an offender with learning disabilities.
Co-trainers in the project have continued to help deliver criminal justice awareness training to this day. They have worked with both KeyRing and the Prison Reform Trust, to deliver training to various probation Trusts, court and magistrate staff and others. They also regularly speak about their experiences at relevant events and have even had several engagements at the House of Lords and House of Commons.
If you would like help or training from KeyRing for your organisation please contact Neisha.Betts@KeyRing.org for more information.
Handbook from the Department of Health: A handbook for professionals in the criminal justice system working with offenders with a learning disability
A handbook has been designed by the Department of Health for any staff working in the Criminal Justice System working with offenders with learning disabilities. It is designed as a stand-alone guide on the topic as well as an accompaniment to any learning disability awareness training for criminal justice staff.
Use this link to download the handbook: Positive Practice, Positive Outcomes: A Handbook for Professionals in the Criminal Justice System working with Offenders with Learning Disabilities (Department of Health, 2011).
DVD from Skillnet Group: Learning Disability Awareness
An updated version of the Skillnet Group DVD is now available for anyone training criminal justice staff on the needs and issues of people with learning disabilities. It comes with a booklet summarising each clip to allow you to select those most appropriate for your training.
If you would like a copy of the DVD to accompany your training please contact Neisha.Betts@Keyring.org. A small fee, plus postage, is charged for the DVD.
Information from the Prison Reform Trust: Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts
Another great resource you might want to look at has been produced by the Prison Reform Trust. It includes information about mental health conditions and learning disabilities, and the implications of these conditions for individuals appearing before the courts; how magistrates can recognise certain symptoms and obtain further information; ways in which defendants can be helped to participate effectively in court proceedings; and sentencing options. Film clips are used to help illuminate the main points.
The resource Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts is available online and hard copies are also available.
The online version can be found at: www.mhldcc.org.uk
Hard copies can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidance from NHS England: Healthcare guidance for prison staff treating patients with Learning Disabilities, and Liaison and Diversion Practitioner Guidance on Supporting people with learning Disabilities
Here are some examples of guidance in this area that may be of use:
NHS England – Healthcare guidance for prison staff treating patients with Learning Disabilities. This Guidance is helpful to all healthcare staff in prisons as well as prison health commissioners, to give an understanding of the issues prisoners may face and how to apply the healthcare standards expected in the community to a prison setting.
NHS England – Liaison and Diversion Practitioner Guidance on Supporting people with learning Disabilities. This guidance is for practitioners working in Liaison and Diversion teams. It may also be useful to those staff working with L&D teams, such as police and courts staff.
Criminal Justice Joint Inspection: A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system
Staff were failing to identify people with learning disabilities, meaning opportunities to help those offenders were missed, according to independent inspectors. The joint inspection is available in two parts:
A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system - phase 1 from arrest to sentence
A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system - phase two in custody and the community
Guidance from ARC: People with learning disabilities in the criminal justice system
ARC have produced a guide for carers and learning disability services People with learning disabilities in the criminal justice system.
This guide is for anyone who supports someone with a learning disability who is in trouble with the law. The guide explains: what happens when people get into trouble; what you can expect; what rights people have; and where to go for help. The guide looks at all stages of the Criminal Justice System, from police custody through to courts, prison and probation.
The Tizard Centre: Guides to the Criminal Justice System
The Tizard Centre at the University of Kent has produced a series of guides to give help in understanding the Criminal Justice System, from the perspective of someone with a learning disability and/or autism. There are several guides, aimed at families and professionals. The guides include Liaison and Diversions Services; At the Police Station; In the Courtroom; In Prison; On Probation; and several information leaflets on Youth Offending. The guides can be accessed by clicking here
General healthcare guidance for social care staff from Public Health England
Public Health England have collated easy read resources relating to Improving healthcare access for people with learning disabilities
The webpage offers guidance for social care staff on how to help people with learning disabilities get better access to medical services to improve their health. Easy read health fact sheets are available for social care staff to download.
LDD Navigator: Learning Difficulties and Disabilities in the Justice System
http://www.lddnavigator.org.uk/ is a useful website, designed and built by a consortium of three charities: BILD, Dyslexia Action, and The National Autistic Society
The website considers the three questions: What are the signs? What do I do? and Who do I tell? There is included a useful resource list
Advocate's Gateway: Guidance on vulnerable witnesses and defendants
The Advocate’s Gateway provides free access to practical, evidence-based guidance on vulnerable witnesses and defendants. The toolkits provide advocates with general good practice guidance when preparing for trial in cases involving a witness or a defendant with communication needs.
National Autistic Society: Autism: a guide for police officers and staff
Autism: a guide for police officers and staff, produced by the National Autistic Society is available to download on-line for free.
Bristol Learning Disabilities service: Supporting adults with Learning Disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice services.
Bristol Learning Disabilities is a team which provides a service across Avon: Bristol, Bath & North-East Somerset, South Glos and North Somerset, offering a specialist tertiary service to adults who have learning disabilities who have offended, are alleged to have offended, or who are considered at significant risk of offending. They have produced a YouTube video about supporting adults with Learning Disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice services and the support that they can access.
Plain English Criminal Justice Dictionary
The following link, although not easy read, provides simpler definitions of complex legal terms: Dictionary
Picture of Jenny Talbot, the Prison Reform Trust, and a Working for Justice member training Magistrates