From time to time a book is published that is important to practitioners working in specialist disabilities services—this is one of them. People with disabilities come to the attention of the police and the courts, but very often the needs of this small, but growing, group of people are not brought to the attention of the courts in a way that takes account of their lack of understanding, poor social-emotional development, and what are often additional presenting problems of co-morbidity (for example, mental health needs). Systems purporting to support people with intellectual disabilities and family members may also not have the knowledge, skills and understanding to make meaningful interventions.
There are people with intellectual disabilities who require detention in secure settings, not only to protect the public, but also the person themselves. Ernest Gralton is a lead consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in Developmental Disabilities and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings Hospital, London. Practitioner contributors to the book come from a broad range of work settings and assist daily with the practical outcomes for the offender with an intellectual disability and staff involved in their care.
Co-morbidity is a significant issue which repeatedly presents for practitioners and is dealt with by each contributor in writing about their specialist area. An underlying theme from all the contributors is the understanding that any model of care for people with an intellectual disability, and particularly those who come to the attention of the police and come before the courts, has to be grounded in developmental principles.
What is also clear from all the contributors is the importance of training, ensuring staff are fit for purpose and that all involved in the care of this small but complex group of people have an understanding of the importance of micro-environmental interactions.
This book will be a welcome addition on the bookshelves of any practitioner.