Young Offenders

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 10th September 2021.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to HM Inspectorate of Probation report, Traumatic Brain Injury, published on 13 August 2021, what steps he is taking to (a) implement training on the effects of traumatic brain injury for staff working in youth justice, probation and prison services, (b) promote awareness and understanding of the effects of traumatic brain injury and (c) implement further linkworker schemes for offenders with histories of traumatic brain injury.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Ministry of Justice is committed to meeting and protecting the needs of all vulnerable offenders, including those with neurodivergent needs such as impairments due to traumatic brain injuries (ABIs).

In the Sentencing White Paper ‘A Smarter Approach to Sentencing’, the Department committed to a National Staff Training Toolkit on Neurodiversity. This will aim to improve our staff’s awareness and understanding of neurodivergent needs, including traumatic brain injury, and enable them to feel confident to make referrals to health services if needed. In the National Disability Strategy, published in July this year, we committed to roll out the toolkit by 2022.

It is a priority within the new Probation Disability Plan to provide staff with the relevant skills to support people on probation, including developing a model for learning about the effects of Acquired Brain Injury.

More widely, the Lord Chancellor commissioned the justice inspectorates to carry out a Call for Evidence (CfE) on neurodiversity in the criminal justice system (CJS) which was published on 15 July 2021. The CfE report provides an overview of the current national provision to support adult offenders with neurodivergent conditions in the CJS, including traumatic brain injury.

The CfE report provides six recommendations as to how current provision might be improved. MoJ officials are drafting an action plan in response to the recommendations of the report which is due to be published in October. This will include considering increased opportunities for neurodivergent individuals, including through link worker schemes.

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