There continue to be difficulties in agreeing on the numbers of people with learning disabilities in the offender population. Estimates range from 2% to 10%. The author of this review set out to look at recent research in the field which includes work on prevalence, developments in appropriate assessments and investigations into the effectiveness of treatment procedures.
The author describes research on risk assessment which has developed over the last 7 years with current studies setting out frameworks for assessment and testing new instruments that researchers have used and have been shown to predict offending incidents.
The author suggests that studies evaluating treatment options for sex offenders have shown some promise, although at present these evaluations have only evaluated progress in terms of improvements in behaviour, cognitive distortions and reductions of offending. The author points to one study which targeted reductions in sexual deviancy. There are very few studies evaluating treatment outcomes that have established appropriate control conditions however.
The author points out that there is interest in this relatively new field in the literature and that the addition of controlled studies would aid clinicians significantly in assessment, review and treatment of offenders with learning disabilities.
People with intellectual disability who offend or are involved with the criminal justice system, Lindsay, W, in Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 24, 5, 377–381