1st Edition

Working with Autistic People in the Criminal Justice and Forensic Mental Health Systems A Handbook for Practitioners

Edited By Nichola Tyler, Anne Sheeran Copyright 2022
    224 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    224 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Working with Autistic People in the Criminal Justice and Forensic Mental Health Systems: A Handbook for Practitioners is the first book to focus specifically on best practice for working with autistic people in criminal justice and forensic mental health settings. Integrating current theory, research, and clinical practice, this book provides a practical guide for multidisciplinary practitioners working with autistic people who have offended, at all stages in their pathway, regardless of the nature of offending.

    The book draws together contributions from leading scholarly and clinical experts in the field of autism and forensic issues as well as the views of autistic people under the care of forensic services. Each chapter focuses on understanding the impact of autism throughout the criminal justice and forensic mental health system pathways, including how these systems are experienced by autistic people and their families and carers. Case studies and practical approaches are provided to demonstrate the application of best practice to working with autistic people in secure settings.

    This book appeals to a wide audience within the fields of psychology, psychiatry, nursing, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, as well as criminal justice staff (e.g., prison and probation), and will be the first of its kind to amalgamate theory, research, and practice in the area of autism and offending.

    Series Foreword – Richard Shuker and Geraldine Akerman

    Foreword – Will Attwood

    Preface – Anne Sheeran and Nichola Tyler


    Part I: Understanding Autism

    Chapter 1: Autism: Context and Diagnosis – Tony Attwood

    Chapter 2: Autism and Mental Health – Jermaine J. A. Thompson and Christopher Ince

    Chapter 3: Receiving a Diagnosis of Autism in Adulthood – Claire King and Gemma Rogers

    Part II: Forensic Issues

    Chapter 4: Autism and Offending Behaviour – Eddie Chaplin and Jane McCarthy

    Chapter 5: Questioning Autistic People: Police and Courts – Michelle Mattison and Clare Allely

    Chapter 6: Supporting Autistic People People in Prisons – Yvette Bates and Ruth J. Tully

    Chapter 7: Supporting Autistic People in Secure Hospitals and Beyond – Magali-Fleur Barnoux and Peter E. Langdon

    Chapter 8: Offence Focused Interventions for Autistic People – Clare Melvin and Glynis H. Murphy

    Chapter 9: Risk Assessment with Autistic People – David Murphy

    Part III: Clinical Issues

    Chapter 10: Strategies for Supporting Autistic People – Sarah Cooper, Andy Inett, Zoë Eastop, and Kirsty Taylor

    Chapter 11: What Support Interventions are Helpful for Families and Carers of Autistc People in the Criminal Justice System? – Rachel Worthington

    Chapter 12: Women and Autism – Verity Chester, Bethany Driver, and Regi T. Alexander

    Chapter 13: Victimisation Experiences of Autistic People and Restorative Practice Approaches to Repairing Harm – Sarah Cooper and Lisa Whittingham

    Part IV: Future Directions

    Chapter 14: Future Directions for Research and Practice – Anne Sheeran and Nichola Tyler


    Nichola Tyler is a Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Nichola conducts research in the areas of forensic mental health, treatment evaluation, and deliberate firesetting. She has also worked in forensic settings with adult men and women who have engaged in challenging or offending behaviour.

    Anne Sheeran is an NHS Clinical and Forensic Psychologist. Working within forensic mental health and prison settings, her key interest is support for autistic people and/or people with intellectual disabilities. Anne became an Approved Clinician as an early adopter of these new roles for psychologists, and is currently a full-time Responsible Clinician in both inpatient and community settings.


    'Working with Autistic People in the Criminal Justice and Forensic Mental Health Systems is one of the first books that links together the perspectives from leading multidisciplinary professionals to examine the gaps that autistic offenders regularly face within the criminal justice system. An ideal guide for any practitioners to use within the forensic mental health field.'
    Dr Tanya Banfield, Head of Criminal Justice, Genius Within, UK

    'In their impressive new book Anne Sheeran and Nichola Tyler have curated a rounded, thoroughly evidenced, and immensely practical collection. Drawing on a vast array of clinical, research and experiential expertise the editors have successfully and comprehensively shown how criminal justice, mental health and learning disability services can work with, and for, people with autism, their families, carers, victims, and the public. Especially welcome were chapters on supporting the carers and staff of people with autism and on questioning people with autism in a criminal justice context. This is a collection, carefully and cogently crafted, that retains throughout an unerring focus on what works best and I recommend it to all working in the field.'
    Professor Geoffrey L. Dickens, Professor Mental Health Nursing, Centre for Applied Nursing Research, Northumbria University, UK

    'What is so pleasing about this excellent text, is that it achieves its aim of being a comprehensive handbook without losing sight of the people at the centre of it, those with autism. Centred on the British system, this handbook is nevertheless highly relevant to other jurisdictions, because of the quality of evidence the writers draw upon and the breadth of coverage of topics. It is highly recommended.'
    Dr Justin Barry Walsh, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Chair, Faculty of Forensic Psychiatry Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists