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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69923 Find in a Library
Title: Retarded Offender - A Problem Without a Program
Journal: Corrections Magazine  Volume:6  Issue:4  Dated:(August 1980)  Pages:24-33
Author(s): B DeSilva
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The retarded offender presents a dilemma both for prisons and for the community, with both facilities shunning the retarded offender as a problem beyond their capabilities.
Abstract: Various studies indicate that at least 5 percent of the inmates in jails and prison (about 25,000) are retarded. Yet few jail or prison administrtors attempt to identify retarded inmates, or provide them with special programming. Experts on retardation are convinced that many retarded offenders could be prevented from committing crimes, or rehabilitated once they do if the courts and corrections agencies would act in their behalf. Yet while many believe that community programs could prevent the retarded's involvement in crime mental retardation agencies run only a handful of special programs for retarded offenders. Within prison establishments, tests to identify retardation are poorly developed and administered. In States such as California, Georgia, and Maryland, the tests are too insensitive to identify mental retardation, or if they do identify the condition, the tests only inspire prison to mainstream the subjects into the same literacy and vocational educational programs available to all inmates. Nevertheless, some States are responding to retarded offenders' needs. North Carolina administers a battery of tests, provides psychological counseling for retarded offenders, and takes first-time younger offenders into a special program for the retarded. South Carolina administers special tests, treats those who score low in intelligence at a Special Learning Unit, and emphasizes teaching survival skills (money management, using the telephone, etc.). Retarded offenders identified in Tennessee's testing procedure can be placed in group homes; this program involves community resources and special instruction. While some progress is being made, the base of the problem is complicated because the offender who is retarded receives no special rights before the law. Yet although many feel that retarded offenders should accept their criminal responsibility, they also feel that the criminal justice system must take responsibility to deal with them in an appropriate manner.
Index Term(s): Halfway houses; Intelligence Quotient (IQ); Offenders with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities; Persons with cognitive disabilities; Socially challenged; Vocational training
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