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School to prison pipelines: Trajectories of children with neurodisabilities in contact with the law

Mood Disorders Centre Think Tank Seminar Series

Our guest speaker is Hope Kent from the University of Exeter

Event details


Neurodisability is an umbrella term, encapsulating a range of congenital and acquired neurodevelopmental disorders. These include autism spectrum disorder, foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and acquired brain injuries. Children with neurodisabilities are criminalised at disproportionately high rates. Neurodisability is also a risk factor for school exclusion, and children in Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) have far higher rates of diagnosed Special Educational Needs (and likely higher rates of undiagnosed neurodisability) than children in mainstream school. Children who are looked after by child welfare systems (e.g. in residential care and foster placements) are also criminalised and excluded from school disproportionately, and have very high rates of neurodisability, indicative of cumulative risk.

In this PhD upgrade talk I will discuss my research using large administrative datasets - including a Ministry of Justice and Department for Education linked dataset - to understand trajectories from education to justice system contact, with a particular emphasis on children who are arrested before the age of 16. I will present preliminary results on the prevalence and impact of functional difficulties in this group. I will discuss school exclusion as an early intervention and diversion point, as well as discussing the ethical problems with the use of risk-based paradigms in justice contexts, and the use of administrative data.


The Sir Henry Wellcome Building for Mood Disorders Research