Useful Resources

Useful Resources

Useful Resources

Here's a list of useful downloadable resources relating to the Criminal Justice System.

Positive Practices, Positive Outcomes

Positive practice

A handbook for professionals in the criminal justice system working with offenders with a learning disability

This handbook, designed by the Department of Health, is for any staff working in the criminal justice system. It is a guide on how best to work with offenders with known or suspected learning disabilities.

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: Learning Disability Awareness

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DVD learning disability awareness

An updated version of the Skillnet Group DVD is now available for anyone training criminal justice professionals on the needs and issues of people with learning disabilities.

If you would like a copy of the DVD to accompany your training please contact A small fee, plus postage, is charged for the DVD. 

Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts

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Front cover

The Prison Reform Trust have produced an online platform 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.

The online version can be found at:

Healthcare guidance for prison staff treating patients with Learning Disabilities

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2 front covers

NHS England have produced guidance for prison healthcare staff treating patients with learning disabilities and healthcare needs. 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.

Liaison and Diversion practitioner guidance on supporting people with learning disabilities

NHS England have produced guidance for practitioners working in Liaison and Diversion services. It may also be useful to those staff working with L&D teams, such as police and courts staff.


A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system

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Phases 1 and 2

Independent inspections found that staff were failing to identify people with learning disabilities in the criminal justice system, meaning opportunities to help offenders were missed. 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 about people with learning disabilities in the criminal justice system

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ARC guide

ARC have produced a guide for carers and learning disability services.

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.


Guides about the criminal justice system

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At the police station

The Tizard Centre, University of Kent has produced a series of guides to help people understand 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

Advocate's Gateway: Guidance on vulnerable witnesses and defendants

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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. 

Autism: a guide for police officers and staff

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Autism Guide

Autism: a guide for police officers and staff, produced by the National Autistic Society is available to download online.

Supporting adults with learning disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice services

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Holding image

Bristol Learning Disabilities team provides a service across Avon: Bristol, Bath & North-East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, offering a specialist tertiary service to adults who have learning disabilities and 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 criminal justice services and the support that they can access.  

Plain English Criminal Justice Dictionary

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The following link, although not easy read, provides simple definitions of complex legal terms: Dictionary 

Back to main Criminal Justice page

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