This SOLD event was held on Wednesday 21st March at Norton Park Conference Centre in Edinburgh. It was fully booked, with ninety-five delegates attending on the day.
This represented the final part of a trilogy of events, having previously looked at ways of improving supports for cognitively impaired defendants in police custody and in court.
The Scottish Government is committed to the principle of presumption against short-term prison sentences, and increased use of community based disposals. We are keen to ensure fair and equal access to Community Payback Orders, and that cognitively impaired people receive the support they need to comply and avoid unnecessarily breaching their Order. We are also keen that people receive the communication support they need in prison and to break the cycle of re-offending.
Delegates were asked to consider the three following questions:
- How do we ensure people with learning disabilities, autism and other communication difficulties receive the support they need to have fair and equal access to community-based alternatives to prison?
- How do we ensure people with learning disabilities, autism and other communication difficulties receive the support they need whilst in prison, particularly with issues of “exclusion”, marginalisation, disempowerment and probable lack of activity in education, work training and programmes?
- How do we ensure people with learning disabilities, autism and other communication difficulties receive the support they need to break the cycle of re-offending, particularly taking into account the different motivations that might lead people to re-offend? g. institutional dependency.
Our thanks go to David Strang, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons in Scotland for Chairing the event. And to our keynote speakers:
- Members of the SOLD User group, for speaking about their lived experience
- James King, Head of Learning and Skills, Scottish Prison Service, for discussing current initiatives within SPS (Powerpoint)
- Gary Docherty, Consultant LD Nurse and co-founder of the SOLD Network, for discussing the challenges faced by people with learning disabilities in prison and on CPOs, and effective models of support (Powerpoint)
- Caitlin Gormley, Scottish Centre for Criminal Justice Research, University of Glasgow, for discussing the unmet needs of people with learning disabilities while in prison (Powerpoint)
- Clare Allely, University of Salford, for discussing autism in prison and secure psychiatric care (Powerpoint)
- Hugh Asher, Keyring, for discussing peer mentoring training in Learning Disability awareness in prisons (Powerpoint)
- Charlie Martin, The Wise Group, for discussing the rehabilitation of people from prison and breaking the cycle of re-offending (Powerpoint)
Copies of the Programme, the Discussion Paper or powerpoint slides from the keynote presentations, can be viewed using the links below:
A report from the event is being written up and will be available here on the SOLD website in due course.