Browsing Research Centres, Institutes, Projects and Units by Author "Bailey, M."
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- ItemOpen AccessLegislation, Existing Protocols and Best Practices Training for Service Providers and Caregivers of People with Developmental Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System(Canadian Institute for Law and the Family and The Vocational Rehabilitation Institute. Prepared for the PDD Alberta Provincial Board and Alberta Community Development., 2006) Pauls, M.; Bailey, M.; Pearson, S.There are large gaps in our knowledge concerning people with developmental disabilities who are involved in the Criminal Justice System. Not only can this lack of education, information, and training lead to inappropriate practice and victimization, but it also has implications for service providers and caregivers who are expected to support decisions made for that person when involved in the system. Service providers and caregivers are not always aware of legal rights and the justice process, and struggle with how to best support the client; acting in an uninformed manner can have long-term negative consequences for the client. The purpose of this project was two-fold. The first goal was to identify gaps in legislation and practice that can lead to victimization of people with developmental disabilities within the Criminal Justice System, in order to inform recommendations for change. The second goal was to provide education, information, and training to services providers and caregivers. If service providers and caregivers are informed and educated, they are in a better position to support people with developmental disabilities through the justice process. This will ensure the accommodation of people with developmental disabilities and prevent possible victimization by the system. In order to gain a greater understanding of legal rights and the justice system process, as it relates to people with developmental disabilities, the project consisted of four components: 1) a legal analysis; 2) key informant interviews with personnel from the Criminal Justice System; 3) focus groups and individual interviews with people with developmental disabilities, service providers, caregivers, and family members; and 4) information and education workshops for service providers and caregivers. Highlights of the Findings The experiences of people with developmental disabilities, support staff, and caregivers in the CJS highlighted in this study have not been positive. While support staff and clients expressed the belief that some progress has been made in terms of educating police officers about disabilities, they agreed that much remains to be done. Lack of knowledge and understanding surrounding specific developmental disabilities often leads to inadequate responses to clients’ behaviour. This, coupled with the lack of clients’ understanding of the legal process highlights the importance for some form of advocacy for people with developmental disabilities. While support staff agree that part of their role is to advocate for clients, they are quick to point out that the sole responsibility is not theirs. Support staff suggested the need for a response that is specific to persons with developmental disabilities. The legislative review, combined with interviews with justice officials, has revealed the lack of consideration given to the unique needs of people with developmental disabilities within the CJS. In most cases, the lack of legislation and protocols that specifically address people with developmental disabilities and guide the process is what hinders justice officials from effectively dealing with this population. viii Identification, communication, and understanding were also highlighted as challenges in this area. A lack of alternative programs and community supports, specific to people with developmental disabilities, complicates the issue further. Respondents discussed utilizing programs for other vulnerable populations, or proceeding through the justice system as is, because alternative options are unavailable. While there are times when diversion is not appropriate, there are other times when it is, but diversion requires appropriate and effective initiatives outside of the system.