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Young offenders have development issues

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 22, 2012

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Young people in custody are often suffering from neuro- developmental disorders, according to a newly published report.

Experts have carried out a review of published evidence which shows youngsters who have been in trouble with the law tend to have more of these problems than the wider population.

Researchers from the universities of Exeter and Birmingham found that young offenders were four times more likely to have a specific reading difficulty – about 43% to 57% compared to 10% of the wider population.

Many of the youngsters have a reading age below that of criminal responsibility, which is ten in England and Wales.

The vast majority of young offenders (60% to 90%) have speech and language difficulties and a quarter may have a learning disability.

Up to three in four young people who commit crimes suffer from the effects of a traumatic brain injury, such as from a direct blow to the head, penetration of the skull or traffic collision. This compares to fewer than one in four of the general population.

The review was carried out for the Office of the Children's Commissioner, which called for earlier recognition of, and vital improvements in, the treatment and support of young people with neurological conditions.

The OCC's report – Nobody Made The Connection: The prevalence of neurodisability in young people who offend – draws attention to the large numbers of young people in children's prisons in England who have neurodevelopmental difficulties, such as brain injuries, that could result in communication difficulties, cognitive delays, learning difficulties and emotional and behavioural problems.

Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England, said: "This report raises serious questions about whether significant numbers of children in the youth justice system have the ability to understand the whole process from arrest through to sentencing. Our failure to identify neurodevelopmental disorders and put in place measures to prevent young people with such conditions from offending is a tragedy.

"It affects the victims of their crimes, the children themselves, their families, the services seeking to change offenders' lives for the better, and wider society."

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  • robocop1982  |  October 24 2012, 4:28PM

    government war crimes render everything else small fry. THere is still a large number of people not willing or intelligent enough to accept the genocide our government has done to people through war. The way our government are so vicious to people in varying forms. Take no notice of this sidneynuff. HE probably gets turned on by war

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  • robocop1982  |  October 24 2012, 4:18PM

    sidnrynuff would you care to explain why you say something stupid like that for me simply making a matter of fact about the war crimes our government have committed. Tell me how sick does it make you feel knowing you grovel to a government responsible for genocide. BUt then again i am wasting my time arguing with a fool. YOu cannot argue with a fool. I suppose the fact they live in iraq means it doesn't matter to you. WHy are you being such a moron. THis government has commited severe war crimes and crippled children for profits with aerial weapons. I suppose that makes you proud of your military even more. SOMe people will just stay ignorant their whole lives. People like sydneynuff are disgusting and think innocent people being killed in government wars is something to joke about when somebody like robocop1982 makes an intelligent remark. YOu guys who support war make me sick

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  • SidneyNuff  |  October 23 2012, 9:53PM

    Oh dear Robo, has mummy sent you to bed early again.

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  • robocop1982  |  October 23 2012, 6:30PM

    THere are different kinds of criminals. Take the government for example and the war crimes they have committed and yet everybody still grovels to them. Look at the amount of carnage they have caused with the iraq and afghan wars. THey are responsible for alot of people suffering. Wake up and smell the coffee. Corruptions all around us these days. OH just wait for the brainwashed sheep who will disagree with me. THey will be grovelling to governments until end of days. Every child born will have to be victim to their overbearing authority and have no real say in the life they choose to lead

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  • SidneyNuff  |  October 23 2012, 4:17PM

    You'll always get the public sector liberals telling you how important their jobs are and you just don't understand the situation. Their mortgages depend on their continuing employment.

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  • ineedtherapy  |  October 23 2012, 12:12PM

    Oh good....yet another example of whatever you do or however you behave there is some medical reason for unacceptable behaviour.....

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  • Incredulous2  |  October 22 2012, 8:02PM

    So, if a smack round the back of someone's head can lead to criminal behaviour, does that mean another slap round the back of the head can go some way towards curing it............

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  • globalloon  |  October 22 2012, 7:30PM

    I think this report is interesting as it is looking at root causes of crime and understanding that is the most effective tool for developing strategies and practices to prevent crime. Surely preventing crime is preferable to dealing with and punishing crime. Having worked in HMP Exeter I know how many prisoners are dyslexic and / or have mental health issues and those easily diagnosed conditions are just the tip of the iceberg. I'd welcome further research into this area as it could offer insight into methods of crime reduction through preventative measures. Courts and prisons are very expensive. Early intervention, when done well, saves money and to do it well insight such as this research provides can only improve such intervention.

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  • SidneyNuff  |  October 22 2012, 6:55PM

    I wondered how long it would be before someone with development issues replied in the only way they know how. Shut up, whatever, jel, innit.

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  • Bleach  |  October 22 2012, 2:41PM

    Oh shut up you idiot.

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