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Vulnerable Defendants in the Criminal Courts: A Review of Provision for Adults and Children

NCJ Number
Jessica Jacobson; Jenny Talbot
Date Published
77 pages
This report from the Prison Reform Trust examines the provisions available to adult and youth defendants with learning disabilities and difficulties and who are involved with the court systems in the United Kingdom.
This report presents the results of an examination of how vulnerable adults and youth are treated within the criminal justice system in England and Wales. Specifically, the report looked at two groups of vulnerable defendants - those, who because of their particular needs, are diverted away from the criminal justice system and into health or social care, and those who remain in the criminal justice system itself. The report presents information on current criminal justice policy and practice towards defendants with learning disabilities and difficulties, and makes recommendations for addressing the particular needs of these defendants as they make their way through the criminal justice system. The report provides an overview of the key issues surrounding child defendants and vulnerable adult defendants. The first section of the report contains four chapters that deal with the treatment of vulnerable adult defendants, while the second section of the report contains five chapters that cover the treatment of child defendants. The report notes that all child defendants are considered vulnerable defendants by virtue of their age and their developmental immaturity. Tables, references, and appendix