First Responders and Autism
This entry is focused on providing: (1) background on contact between autistic individuals and the criminal justice system and (2) guidance to first responders on issues that may arise in a first contact situation involving an autistic person to enhance their ability to act in an autism-friendly manner.
Although research in this area is limited, there is some evidence to suggest that autistic individuals come into contact with the criminal justice system significantly more often than predominant neurotype (PNT; nonautistic) individuals (King and Murphy 2014). Although autistic people are statistically less disposed to criminality (Mouridsen et al. 2007), they are seven times more likely to be arrested (Curry et al. 1993), sometimes unlawfully. The longer they remain (innocently) in the criminal justice system, the greater the injustice and suffering inflicted upon them. There are also potential negative impacts on the police such as a greater risk of...
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