The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has published its Neurodiversity Action Plan, which sets out a number of actions to improve the experiences of neurodivergent people in the criminal justice system. Forrest Williams, as specialist criminal defence lawyers for neurodivergent people, were keen to review this.
The plan is based on the findings of a joint inspection of neurodiversity in the criminal justice system, which found that neurodivergent people are more likely to be arrested, charged, and sentenced to prison than neurotypical people.
The plan includes a number of actions, such as:
- Providing training for staff in the criminal justice system on neurodiversity
- Developing new services to support neurodivergent people in prison and on probation
- Creating a Neurodiversity Support Manager team to provide guidance to staff in the criminal justice system
- Developing a new ‘National Neurodiversity Training Toolkit’ for all staff who work with people in prison or on probation
The MoJ has also agreed to work with other agencies, such as the NHS and local authorities, to improve the experiences of neurodivergent people in the criminal justice system.
The plan is a positive step towards improving the experiences of neurodivergent people in the criminal justice system. However, it is important to note that the plan is only a start, and more needs to be done to address the challenges facing neurodivergent people in the criminal justice system. We know from our day-to-day work representing neurodivergent clients that there is still a lack of understanding within the criminal justice system. We welcome this as a first step towards what is a vital ongoing process.
If you are a neurodivergent person facing criminal proceedings, please contact our specialist lawyers. We are here to help with criminal defence work across the whole of England and Wales. We do not undertake any Legal Aid work. You can call our team on 01623 397200.