More than Just a Number: Meeting the Needs of Those with Mental Illness, Learning, Speech and Language Difficulties in the Criminal Justice System

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Abstract

In the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland, as elsewhere, there are recurrent concerns about the impact of mental illness, learning, speech and language difficulties on individuals on probation and within custodial environments. This commissioned study, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, examined the salience of these issues through an in-depth qualitative approach with 20 adult male respondents with experience of these issues in the criminal justice system. The findings highlighted the dangers of objectification and the respondents’ need to be treated as ‘more than just a number’ through the adoption of a person-centred perspective that recognised their inherent worth. Axel Honneth’s (1995) recognition theory was used to analyse this central recurring theme and to articulate a tentative conceptual framework to guide professionals working with vulnerable individuals in this field
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-41
Number of pages19
JournalIrish Probation Journal
Volume16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Mental Illness
  • Learning Difficulties
  • Speech and Language Difficulties
  • Criminal Justice System
  • Northern Ireland

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