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Neurodiversity training launched for criminal justice system

Free programme open to anyone working with offenders, or potential offenders, in Liverpool City Region



A training programme has been launched for people working with offenders to step up efforts to support those within the criminal justice system who live with brain injury or other neurodiversity. 

The Brain Charity has devised a free programme to support those who work with offenders, or those at risk of offending, to raise awareness of neurodiversity in the criminal justice system and enable professionals to better recognise and support those affected.

The programme, available across the Liverpool City Region, has been commissioned by the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership to ensure those who come into contact with the police, prison or probation services are better supported and their needs better understood. 

Research has highlighted the scale of the issue within the system, finding that nearly two thirds of women – 64 per cent – and more than two thirds of men – 47 per cent – in HMP Leeds/YOI Drake Hall had reported a brain injury. Furthermore, more than three quarters of women prisoners in Scotland have a history of significant head injury, research revealed. 

Training is being rolled out to all 63,000 prison and probation staff across England, alongside healthcare staff working within prisons, but there are still many people working with offenders or potential offenders who would not qualify for such training. 

The Another Sign report from The Brain Charity found that repeat offending could be reduced if there was better training around neurodivergent conditions for those working within the criminal justice system. 

Training from The Brain Charity is open to staff working within the criminal justice system (such as within police forces, prisons, courts and the probation service) and anyone else who may work or volunteer with offenders such as housing association, drug and alcohol support service, NHS, public, third and private sector staff.

The three-hour sessions can be tailored to cover general awareness, operational hints and tips for frontline staff or strategic topics, depending on the roles of those attending.

Nanette Mellor, CEO of The Brain Charity, said: “Often within the criminal justice system, interventions are trauma-informed.

“But in many cases, there may be a neurological condition, potentially undiagnosed, which can be impacting on their behaviour.

“Until this is recognised and the individual receives appropriate support for that, the cycle of reoffending is likely to continue.

“Adequate training around neurodivergent conditions reduces reoffending, which benefits society.”

The training will be delivered by The Brain Charity’s criminal justice team and is open to anyone coming into contact with offenders or potential offenders in their line of work in the Liverpool City Region. 

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