Supporting young people with neurodevelopmental impairment

Dr Nathan Hughes and Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan
Wednesday, 9 December 2015

This report, by Dr Pratiba Chitsabesan, a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, and Dr Nathan Hughes of the University of Birmingham, discusses the over-representation of young people with clinical disorders in the youth justice system.

Drawing on a range of research, it explores the factors contributing to the criminalisation of young people with neurodevelopmental impairments. Prisons in particular are found to be inappropriate institutions to work with clinical issues of this nature: they offer a punishment response to a health issue. The key recommendation of the report is that preventive practice in educational and family settings should be prioritised to prevent youth justice interventions.

The report forms part of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies' Justice Matters initiative, which is motivated by the belief that the United Kingdom’s over-reliance on policing, prosecution and punishment is socially harmful, economically wasteful, and prevents us from tackling the complex problems our society faces in a sustainable, socially just manner.