1st Edition

Working With Adults with Communication Difficulties in the Criminal Justice System A Practical Guide for Speech and Language Therapists

By Jacqui Learoyd, Karen Bryan Copyright 2024
    396 Pages 89 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    396 Pages 89 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    This book offers guidance for speech and language therapists and other professionals who are working in a criminal justice setting or who are interested to know more about this dynamic and rewarding client group.

    The criminal justice system (CJS) includes police custody, community services, secure hospitals and prisons. Although each setting has its differences, there are overarching areas associated with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) within the population who find themselves coming into contact with the CJS.

    These needs are many and varied: from social deprivation and developmental language disorder, to head injury, substance misuse and ADHD. The variety is both stimulating and challenging, and this book provides the reader with a range of resources to use with such a complex client base. Key features include:

    • academic evidence about SLCN in the CJS
    • accessible visuals explaining the systems pathways
    • resources to support assessment and intervention
    • information to support individuals with a range of overlapping needs.

    Aimed primarily at speech and language therapists, the book also includes useful content for students, academics and professionals who wish to know more about SLCN within the CJS. As well as being full of useful infographics, this book includes a vast appendix of online material that can be downloaded and printed for use in practice.

    1. Crime and who commits crime  2. How does the criminal justice system work?  3. Investigations, interviews and court  4. Detention and progress through the criminal justice system  5. Assessment of communication  6. Speech and language therapy intervention  7. The changing needs of the criminal justice system (CJS) population  8. Final thoughts and practical information  9. Appendices


    Jacqui Learoyd is a speech and language therapist with experience of working with adults in secure hospitals and prisons. Jacqui works across all ages from 18 to end of life, trying to support the communication needs of this marginalised group at all stages of their criminal justice journey. She has specific interests in de-escalating tense situations via communication, supporting competence in social communication and helping everyone to understand that just because a person can talk, it doesn’t mean that they are skilled in understanding and expression.

    Karen Bryan is a professor and Vice-Chancellor at York St John University. She previously worked as a consultant speech and language therapist in a high-secure setting for 15 years. Her research interests are in communication difficulties in young offenders and in forensic populations, as well as the impact of communication difficulties on access to health care.

    "Throughout my parliamentary career, I have been involved with important work relating to health and social care and justice. One of the most important pieces of work was to conduct an extensive review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system which was published in 2009. My review found that people with learning disabilities and mental health problems were grossly over-represented in the criminal justice system, and many found it very difficult to understand what was happening to them and to cope with court processes and custodial environments. I have also had the pleasure of being Vice Chair to the All Party Parliamentary Group that considers Speech and Language Difficulties. So I was delighted to be asked to review this book, which discusses the provision of speech and language therapy for adults in the criminal justice system.

    The work provides the evidence base for speech, language and communication intervention in the criminal justice system, as well as practical activities and useful resources that would help a clinician to assess and treat communication needs in these client groups.

    This book should be recommended reading for anyone who would like to understand why communication impairment is a huge issue within the criminal justice system, including politicians and policy makers. The book explains how communication difficulties and needs link to mental health and learning disability. Indeed, it seems to be vital that every professional working in the UK criminal justice sector reads this book so that vulnerable people in the system are understood, are appropriately referred to a specialist speech and language therapy service, and are offered intervention to prevent adverse life outcomes. I offer my recommendation that this book may be the mainstay text that the world of criminal justice has been waiting for." - Lord Bradley, Member of the House of Lords

    "Working with Adults in the Criminal Justice System fills a significant gap in the market, and will be of interest to anyone working in the criminal justice system, and anyone seeking to learn more about communication needs and how they may be supported. Although the background information on the justice system itself is focused on the UK, the information about how communication needs may present, the role of a speech and language therapist in meeting those needs, and various intervention frameworks and strategies are of relevance and value across other jurisdictions. Similarly, much of the information is just as relevant to those working with young people in the justice system as those working with adults. The case examples bring the information to life, and the photocopiable resources will undoubtedly save everyone a lot of time!" –Mary Woodward, Senior Speech Pathologist with extensive experience in the English and Australian criminal justice systems

    'This book is incredible. I’ve used it for a narrative intervention with a young man, it is an SLT bible as far as I’m concerned.’ –Christian Boakye, Highly Specialist SLT working in London Prisons