Author Topic: Autism and the criminal justice system in the UK.  (Read 7381 times)

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Offline nickwclarke

Re: Autism and the criminal justice system in the UK.
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2015, 05:04:42 PM »
Hi All,

It has been just over a year ago since my last post on topic of discussion and a lot of things have happened within a year. I was listening to my local radio station this afternoon. There an advert accepting those with mental health issues either past or present without giving automatic negative labelling straight away. 'Time to change' campaign is still going strong that is still very much a taboo subject to be talking about by many of the UK population. 

Those that told me I will never be able to work with children and vulnerable adults due to having unjustified convictions I have proved to them how wrong they were to give me such a negative attitude towards circumstances that was out of my control.

I am now a regular volunteer with a few organisations helping and supporting service users and staff from children to adults with additional needs that have all been impressed how well I get on with both staff and the service users.

Here is my psychiatric report written on May 27th 2005 while I was on remand for 3 weeks of pure hell! I was not coping well being in a prison environment, I was hiding it well as I feared if I complained that my cell mate make verbal and physical threats by getting me into a headlock! Two nights before being sentenced I did self harm in the cell, I can still see a faint white mark on my right wrist to this very day, showing clearly I used a razor blade to inflict pain on myself! To say I was being naughty and attention seeking was completely unacceptable thing to say to some one with a clear stress related illness.


It seems quite clear that Mr Clarke’s recent behaviour have been precipitated by his father’s illness and the change in his living arrangements. His difficulty in coping with these important life events is unsurprising given his mental disorder. He has used violence instrumentally in an attempt to force a return to his parents home. I think there is no doubt that in the event of him being released from prison he will continue to engage in such risk behaviours until he achieves his aim. It seems that the likely cost of this is not high, but of course it is always possible that he will harm himself or someone else to a greater degree than he will intend.

He is clearly inappropriately placed in prison and he requires a more appropriate placement. Unfortunately, placement is likely to lead to a temporary deterioration in his behaviour as a high risk of absconding. Therefore, any placement must be able to manage his risk of absconding and his other risk taking behaviours. I addition, of course it would need to be able to cater for his particular needs in terms of his autistic spectrum disorder and also given his history of depression, monitor his mental state and provide any psychiatric treatment should it be necessary. I am encouraged that MR **** considers him appropriate for his unit. I am not familiar with this broadly speaking the arrangements for an inpatient unit with associated more independent residential facilities seems ideal. Initially, in my view he would need to be accommodated within the inpatient unit for the reasons stated above but hopefully with appropriate therapeutic approach and an opportunity to settle in, he would progress to the more independent placements before too long.

I spent a little time talking to Ms **** about the funding of such a placement. Because it is registered as a low secure hospital my understanding is that the funding would be arranged through the West Midlands Specialist Services Agency.  I was able to discuss the case in broad terms with *** *** Forensic Case Manager with the WMSSA and he confirmed that he would be quite happy to take the arrangements forward. To this end, I have copied this letter to him. It would be helpful if *** *** would liaise with him directly with respect to funding issues. He can be contacted on *** *** *** Of course, he will also require copies of Mr **** assessment and detailed proposed care plan.

If you consider that the proposed placement is appropriate then I think it would be appropriate for him to be admitted there under the terms of the Mental Health Act 1983 consequent to sentencing for his current offences. I would be quite happy to make a recommendation for either a Hospital Order under Section 37 or a Guardianship Order to allow the court to dispose I would consider that his Aspergers syndrome and the severe difficulties it causes him in his day to day functioning as sufficient to constitute a mental illness within the meaning of the Act and in my view this is quite clearly of both nature and degree which warrant inpatient treatment in hospital of the case appropriately

I understand he is due in court for sentencing on 3rd June 2005. I have written to Birmingham Magistrates Court to inform them of the current position and copied that letter to his solicitor and yourself. I have suggested they should adjourn sentencing for preparation of reports.

I hope that this covers all the essential issues. As it happens I am on annual leave next week but please feel free to contact me after that if you want to discuss the case further. Alternatively, I am sure *** *** would be more than happy to discuss with you any issues regarding placement and funding arrangements.

I have to sat that the 3 weeks on remand in prison was the worst 3 weeks of my entire life so far that's still haunting me to today as I have been given an unfair lifelong criminal record. I have been told I would make an excellent care support worker for children and adults with additional needs making them feel valued and appreciated.

We are now living in the 21st century and not still in the 20th century, I find that the current British Justice System is dated as it's unfair to label someone with 1 to 3 convictions that are a one off and fairly minor to someone that's a regular offender with 20 plus convictions. It's about time the newly elected Conservative Government review their enhanced DBS checking system by filtering it out for people with a few minor convictions that are petty in nature after a 5 to 10 year period1 Not till they have reached their 100th Birthday!

A person who has a diagnoses of Asperger syndrome can often be very focused with tunnel vision when it comes to employment opportunities. One in ten adults with AS work full time so it very important that we find a career we enjoy doing or will always remain unemployed.

I have the full support and backing of a former Police Inspector for over 30 years and a well-known actress who very much into human and animal rights campaigning.

CCRC are currently looking through all my court achieves and other important documents that I hope will help them realise that my criminal record needs to be quashed forever so I can finally move forward in life doing a career I am passionate about.

After watching 'Children in Need' it made me even more determined to help and support children and young people with additional needs live a more rewarding lifestyle. 

One positive outcome this year that has worked out well for my family is making a move to a smaller community in a small town. I sold my flat in February 2015 and my mum sold her house in Birmingham in June 2015. We ae now living in the small Worcestershire Spa Town of Droitwich.

We have both settled in well and getting on well with the locals, we both are not missing the living in Birmingham as we both have bad memories living there! A new location has worked out well for both of us.

We are now living in 4 bed dormer bungalow, I have the upper floor space for myself, my mum has her own ground floor bedroom and wet room, she has arthritis in her joints! I am still having on-going right knee problems myself with a 3rd surgery looking very likely early 2016.

It will be my Dad's 10th anniversary on Monday 30th November 2015, that's only 2 weeks away. I know he would want to see me happy as I was just recovering from my breakdown when he passed away on November 30th 2005 from terminal cancer.


Offline Angelo222

Re: Autism and the criminal justice system in the UK.
« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2015, 04:23:59 PM »
Hi Nick.  I'm glad that things have turned around for you after such a rough time.  Mental illness does have a stigma attached to it but what many people don't realise is that it can strike anyone at any time.  Nobody is immune from mental illness as all it takes is for the right circumstances to conspire together when someone is at their lowest ebb.  Please do keep in touch Nck and let us know how you get on.
De troothe has the annoying habit of coming to the surface just when you least expect it!!

Je ne regrette rien!!

Offline nickwclarke

Re: Autism and the criminal justice system in the UK.
« Reply #32 on: November 20, 2015, 04:42:25 PM »
Hi Nick.  I'm glad that things have turned around for you after such a rough time.  Mental illness does have a stigma attached to it but what many people don't realise is that it can strike anyone at any time.  Nobody is immune from mental illness as all it takes is for the right circumstances to conspire together when someone is at their lowest ebb.  Please do keep in touch Nck and let us know how you get on.

Hi Angelo, Thanks for your reply, you are about right that mental illnesses has a stigma attached to it. I was shocked but not at all surprised when a criminal law solicitor told me that potential employers would rather give a person with a criminal record a 2nd chance, that did the criminal act intentionally then someone that got a criminal record due to mental health that was none intentional.

You are right that no one is entirely immune to having some sort of mental breakdown period at some point during their lifetime. If I was given the adequate care and support during the early stages during my breakdown I would not be in a position that I am finding myself in right now with a false criminal record being held against me.

I hear it a lot from many people telling me you have carried out a criminal act so have to learn to accept it as life is not fair. This is not a good thing to be saying to someone on the autistic spectrum as we tend to only do the things that we enjoy doing.

Last night on Channel 4 there was a documentary called ‘Kitchen Impossible’, Michel Roux gets a group of young people and adults with various types of additional needs to find employment in the catering industry. They were all successful in finding employment apart from one young person with Asperger syndrome. He enjoys doing back kitchen duties rather than front of the house duties. He did not bother applying for another job role as he is happy with is current job and routine that suits his autism perfectly.

Rather than pouring pints and serving customers food and drink he feels a lot happier in the kitchen washing the dishes and keeping the kitchen in A1 condition hygienically. Might not be the best pay or most glamorous job to be doing but as long as he happy and working there no need to push him for a higher paid job. This will only raise his anxiety and stress levels even higher.

I am in a similar scenario that I can work and willing to if I was given a discretion that is not likely to happen unless I have get my criminal record quashed. I have 6 sisters and a brother and have 11 nephews and 3 nieces and a popular uncle as I have always got on with children and young people naturally.

As I get on naturally get on well with children and young people it make sense that am able to find employment working with children and young people with additional needs or will permanently be out of work. It was not my fault I was charged and convicted. The authorities could have easily prevented this form happening if I was treated during the early stages of my breakdown and not 14 months into my breakdown period when it got out of control.


Offline nickwclarke

Re: Autism and the criminal justice system in the UK.
« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2017, 09:22:53 PM »
Has been a while since I last updated my post on Autism and the criminal justice system after being told that I have to look at other job opportunities that does not involve working with vulnerable adults and young people. I was not going to give in that easily due to my previous convictions that are not against vulnerable adults and young people. This month marks twelve years since I was charged and convicted for minor ABH and criminal damage during at stressful time for my family. I was in no fit state at the time to go through the British Justice System while mentally unstable while on a concoction of 6 different antidepressants/anti psychotics, I was self medicating at the time when the incident occurred at the hostel.

I have shown that I am safe, capable and trustworthy to help and support young people with additional needs thanks to two Midlands based Organisations giving me the discretion and breakthrough  I have been waiting for. They know how poorly mental health is mismanaged in the UK that’s grossly underfunded thanks to the Tories cutbacks on mental health support.

Autism Awareness and support for adults in 2004/05 when I had my breakdown was hardly known about. My Social Worker read through text books about autism, she had no knowledge or understanding towards how to manage an individual on the Autistic spectrum that’s going through a meltdown period when anxiety and stress levels become too much to cope and manage using anger and aggression as coping mechanism to calm down again.

April 2015 I started to volunteer as a Playworker for autistic young people with the organisation by giving me a breakthrough with a discretion. Showing them that I am perfectly safe and capable to help and support young people at the Saturday Playgroup that I have now been volunteering at for 2 years.

April 2017 the Leader is impressed how well I am engaging with the young service users at the club. For the last six months I have been doing one to one support for a young people at the club. I can cope and manage a young person with distress behaviour. The Leader and other Playworkers have no concerns or issues with me, they can see I am making a difference to the young people that attend Club. Showing them the positive traits that autism can bring to their daily lives rather than dwelling too much on the negatives of their autistic traits.

I have been chosen to share my story as a book chapter for The University of Galway ERC Voices Project. I am a Storyteller for the ERC Voices Project with a Respondent helping me write my chapter with her professional points of view.

Links about about the Project, my introduction to the ERC Voices Project with my Respondent Nell Munro from The Criminal Law Department from Nottingham University.

I have already taken part in my presentation on Criminal Responsibility with my Respondent Nell Munro in September 2016 with my sister giving her point of view how it felt for the whole family.

YouTube video link below of the PowerPoint Presentation, starts just before 35 minutes into the link below.

I am now ready for a job interview when a work placement becomes available. My Leader told me he has no issues when I am helping out at club and should apply for job as Playworker after 2 years probation as a volunteer. I have shown dedicated doing a job role a paid Playworker would be expected to do without any pay.

I enjoy seeing autistic young people starting their young lives positively knowing that the I and other Playworkers have contributed towards it. No one should endure what I and many other autistic individuals by going through the courts and the justice system. Being autistic while going through an episode of distress behaviour due to high anxiety levels and being misunderstood by society and the Courts. Support and help at a rehab autism clinic is better alternative than a conviction and a life long criminal record. To prevent and stop biased opinions from the general public, media and press! Giving a negative label straight away without looking into the circumstances that led to the individual getting a conviction and criminal record.