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Young Offenders: Learning Disability

Volume 476: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) male and (b) female offenders aged 10 to 17 years have been assessed as having (i) dyslexia, (ii) dyspraxia, (iii) a speech and language disorder, (iv) autism and (v) any other learning disorder while in custody in each of the last five years. (206889)

Information about specific health problems or learning difficulties among young offenders is not routinely collected. However, the study ‘Mental Health Needs and Effectiveness of Provision for Young Offenders in Custody and in the Community’ (Professor Richard Harrington and Professor Sue Bailey, Youth Justice Board for England and Wales 2005), identified 23 per cent. of young offenders as having learning difficulties, that is having an IQ of 70 or less.

The hon. Member for Buckingham (John Bercow) is currently leading an independent review of services for children and young people (including offenders) with speech, language and communications needs. This is an independent review supported by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health.