August 19, 2018
Courts look at brain injury
While a summit is being held this week on ways the criminal justice system needs to change, judges are making their own moves to address problems they see before them every day.
Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue is looking at what lessons can be learnt from Youth Court processes to better recognise the needs of young adults appearing in the adult court.
Principal Youth Court Judge John Walker says a high incidence of youth offenders have some neurological disability such as dyslexia, autism, foetal alcohol spectrum disorder of acquired brain injury disorder.
Those disorders don’t go away people turn 17, so some of the information used by the Youth Court to understand the cause of the offending needs to follow them into the District Court if they offend as an adult.
"If you put someone into a programme that suits most people and they’ve got foetal alcohol spectrum disorder or they’re dyslexic and it requires some written work, they’re not going to turn up, they’re going to be seen to be in default, failing to comply with court orders and so on. We need to understand they why and what’s driving that behaviour before we can have any show of delivering effective interventions through the court," Judge Walker says.
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