‘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 the 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 article 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 focusing on individual diagnosis within a prison setting.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalHoward Journal of Crime and Justice
Early online date29 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jun 2021

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