Justice System and People with Disabilities Focus of New MN UCEDD Publication

July 17, 2017

The newly-released "Impact: Feature Issue on the Justice System and People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities" (ici.umn.edu/products/impact301) from the Institute on Community Integration (MN UCEDD) offers justice professionals, disability professionals, people with disabilities, and their families leading-edge articles that help communities work together to support equal access to justice for all. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities can face unique challenges, with potentially serious consequences, when involved with the juvenile or criminal justice systems.

In community encounters with law enforcement, courtrooms, detention centers, or prisons individuals may have difficulty answering questions, explaining what happened, or understanding and following instructions. Justice professionals may misinterpret behaviors as an intent to harm others, an admission of guilt, or defiance when, in fact, the person is expressing fear, distress, or lack of understanding, or is attempting to comply with social norms. Edited by Leigh Ann Davis of The Arc, Holly Riddle of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and David R. Johnson and Jean Echternacht of the Institute on Community Integration, the new Impact shares a wide range of perspectives from across the county on meeting those challenges.