Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ASD Youths and Crime in Pennsylvania

Newly published data indicates that the number of Pennsylvania minors with autism who are getting caught up in the juvenile criminal justice system increased dramatically from 2005 to 2011, prompting researchers to call for a deeper dive into the numbers and the implementation of more strategies to guide law enforcement and other agencies in their encounters with individuals with autism.
According to the 2014 Pennsylvania Autism Census Updatea report funded by the Bureau of Autism Services in the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, and a follow-up to the inaugural Pennsylvania Autism Census Project, which was released in 2009 — the rate of juvenile justice system contact among individuals with autism grew from 659 per 10,000 people in 2005 to 1,423.4 per 10,000 people in 2011.
The most common criminal charges in these cases involved property offenses and incidents of physical contact, the report states.
“Individuals with autism who have contact or multiple contacts with the justice system are (an) at-risk group both because contact with the justice system can be traumatic and misunderstood, and because the short- and long-term costs to the system for crisis events are generally disproportionate when compared to the cost of the services that might prevent such events,” the report concludes.