People with an intellectual disability in the prisons
Taylor and Francis
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
This article reports results from a total population of persons with an intellectual disability in Western Australia arrested on or after April 1, 1984. It is part of a longitudinal study which 'tracked' offenders with intellectual disability through the criminal justice system over an 11-year period to compare their experiences at each stage of the justice process with a sample of general population offenders. The research draws on an analysis of the Western Australian Police Services Apprehension records and the Disability Services Commission database. The data presented here examine imprisonment rates and profiles of prisoners with intellectual disability compared to other offenders. The study found that over the period of the study more than one third of all individuals with an intellectual disability who were charged with a criminal offence were given a custodial sentence, compared with only 13% of the non-disabled arrestees. In addition, 16% of individuals with intellectual disability arrested for the first time were sentenced to custody compared to 7% of general population offenders.