Evidence from the Prison Reform Trust currently suggests that in UK prisons, there are approximately 32% of adult and child offenders who have an IQ under 80. Around 10% of adult prisoners have a learning difficulty.
This information demonstrates that the UK prison population represents a large mix of individuals with a wide range of complex needs and diverse backgrounds. Therefore a significant number of these individuals have mental health problems, learning difficulties or learning disabilities.
These complex issues indicate that there is further evidence to suggest that those on trial and subsequently being imprisoned may not be receiving fair and equal treatment and that sentencing may not take reasonable account of adjustments which should be made, so that individuals are able to comply with the sentence they have been given.
In addition to this, offenders and prisoners who have autism, a specific learning difficulty or disability, may also experience problems with coping with the criminal justice system. Therefore, they are more vulnerable to the potential of a miscarriage of justice.
It is essential that the identification of mental health problems and issues are identified early on so that appropriate interventions and support can be given.