“I’m not even bothered if they think, is that autism?” An exploratory study assessing autism training needs for prison officers in the Scottish Prison Service

Frank Slokan, Maria Ioannou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies indicate that autistic individuals can experience increased distress in prison, leading to significant disruption in prison regime and difficulties in rehabilitation (Allely, 2015; Allen et al, 2008). This exploratory study investigates autism knowledge and training needs among prison officers. Current understanding, possible training content and a strategy for implementation of autism training for officers are all explored. Methods utilised include a survey and interviews / focus group. Themes identified include specific vulnerabilities, staff skill, training needs and implementation barriers. Participants showed some awareness, but lacked understanding of autism in a prison setting. This paper explores whether focused training on one condition is problematic, due to limited resources within the prison system. A wider focus on practical skills to supporting people with neurodiverse conditions and links with non-prison based local health services is seen as more effective than focussing on individual diagnosis within a prison setting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHoward Journal of Crime and Justice
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Apr 2021

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