Criminal justice and young people with clinical disorders

A disproportionate number of young people with neurodevelopmental impairments and clinical disorders are caught up in the youth justice system. This event will consider how systems and services can better identify and respond to signs and symptoms of neurodevelopmental impairment to reduce criminal justice intervention.


Research studies consistently demonstrate a highly disproportionate rate of childhood neurodevelopmental impairments and clinical disorders among young people in the youth justice system.

This suggests that the youth justice system – and the custodial estate in particular – has become the primary service provider for large numbers of young people with significant emotional or cognitive impairments. Are we failing to prevent law breaking and reconviction among these young people and therefore potentially criminalizing on the basis of impairment?

This event is part of the Justice Matters project.


Dr Nathan Hughes of the University of Birmingham will draw on research and clinical understandings of neurodevelopmental impairment to explore the array of factors and experiences affecting young people with neurodevelopmental impairments.

This suggests that a prevention strategy involving supporting families and providing sustained support and interventions to maintain engagement in education would build a more effective response to behaviours that would avoid unnecessary criminalisation.


  • Dr Nathan Hughes of the University of Birmingham.


  • Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan - Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist (Pennine NHS Foundation Trust) and Honorary Research Fellow (Offender Health Research Network, University of Manchester).
  • Deborah Fortescue - Head of Foundation at The Disabilities Trust

Venue, time and date

November 13th, 2015 12:30 PM   to   3:00 PM
Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
2 Langley Lane
London, SW8 1GB
United Kingdom

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