Seeing and Treating Neurodiverse Individuals in the Criminal Justice System

Gavin Dingwall, Head of Policy and Communications, represented the Sentencing Academy in a panel discussion with Professor Penney Lewis, the Law Commissioner, and Lauren Costello, Deputy Chief Prosecutor in the Northeast of England, at an international symposium on ‘Seeing and Treating Neurodiverse Individuals in the Criminal Justice System’ held on 14 March and hosted by the Law, Society & Vulnerable People Hub at the University of Sunderland. The virtual event was attended by 175 delegates from around the world.

The symposium opened with a keynote talk from Sir Robert Buckland KC, former Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, who has a longstanding interest in neurodiversity. This was followed by a series of papers which considered how neurodiverse individuals experience all stages of the criminal justice process from initial police interaction to serving a custodial sentence.

The Sentencing Academy was delighted to be involved in this event with some themes overlapping with our recent seminar on mental health and sentencing held in conjunction with the University of York. Both of these events highlight the importance of ensuring that people are treated as individuals at sentencing in order to determine a proportionate and effective outcome.