Costs and benefits of social care support for exoffenders with learning disabilities

Glynis Murphy Completed   2016


People with learning disabilities often used to live in institutions, removed from community life, but now they live more ordinary lives, in the community, like anyone else. However, they sometimes break the law, just as others in the general population do, and they may end up in prison: about 7% of the current UK prison population are thought to have learning disabilities.

When they leave prison, people with learning disabilities often receive very little support, as Community Learning Disability Teams may think they are too able for support and Social Services often argue that they do not meet their Fair Access to Care criteria. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that small amounts of support, such as a support worker for a few hours per week, can make a big difference to outcomes, such as to re-offending.

This project aimed to select people who have already screened positive for learning disabilities, as they are leaving prison and follow them up for nine months. Interviews with the people with learning disabilities established their living situation (e.g. accommodation), daily activities (including college and employment), their social networks, levels of anxiety, depression and quality of life. Interviews with the ex-offenders documented what services are being provided and what risky behaviours/re-offending had occurred.