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ASPartOfMe
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12 Nov 2021, 9:52 am

How do autistic individuals interact with the criminal justice system?

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Across the United States, reports of autistic youth experiencing dangerous, life-altering and even fatal interactions with the criminal justice system are becoming more common. Research suggests that autistic individuals interact with police at high rates and individuals with disabilities disproportionately experience police violence.

Researchers from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University recently published research that identified the experiences of autistic individuals and their caregivers across their interactions with the criminal justice system through analysis of a statewide survey in Pennsylvania.

The study analyzed free-text responses and multiple-choice questions about types of justice system interactions from the 2018 Pennsylvania Autism Needs Assessment (2018 PANA), a large survey of autistic individuals and their families that included questions about demographic and clinical information, as well as service needs and experiences.

The study sample of 3,902 individuals represents 47% of the full 8,240 respondents to the 2018 PANA. A total of 839 respondents reported information about their criminal justice system interaction through the free-text question.

Among autistic adult respondents, males were almost twice as likely to be stopped and questioned by police, arrested or charged, while females were at 32% greater odds of being the victim of a crime.

Having a psychiatric co-occurring diagnosis was associated with about 2.7 times the odds of any justice system interaction and 2.4 times the odds of being a victim of a crime among autistic individuals.

Among caregiver respondents, having an annual household income greater than $40,000 were protective against being a victim of a crime.

Living with a roommate or family member was protective against being the victim of a crime among caregiver respondents regarding their autistic child.

Analysis of the free-text responses yielded several themes.

One-quarter of respondents described being the victim of a crime.

One-quarter of respondents described being an offender.

A small number of respondents (1.5%) described being a witness to a crime.

Almost equal proportions of respondents described a positive perception of the justice system (8%) and negative perception of the justice System (9%).

Finally, a small but notable proportion of respondents (1.5%) identified having a concern for there being a future interaction with the justice system.

“These findings are impactful because they come directly from the voices of autistic individuals and their families," said Kaitlin Koffer Miller, lead author of the study and director of Policy Impact in the Policy and Analytics Center in the Autism Institute. "


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autisticelders
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13 Nov 2021, 6:15 am

interesting, and studies like these are desperately needed, there is very little understanding of how autism is involved in the criminal justice system and what percentages of autistic adults are involved. I will go look this one up to read in detail. Thanks once again for an informative post.


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