Nearly 6,000 children and adults in prison have an IQ of less than 70, yet there is no routine screening of people for learning difficulties in prison, the Prison Reform Trust said today.In a report today, it said the figure, drawn from research by the University of Liverpool, was the first authoritative statistic on the prevalence of learning disabilities in the secure estate.
The trust claimed prisoners with learning difficulties face bullying and victimisation, and prison routines, buildings and rehabilitation programmes are not designed for them.
The research comes ahead of the launch next month of No One Knows, a three-year PRT programme to improve the treatment of people with learning difficulties in prison.
Programme manager Jenny Talbot said the launch would include results from a UK-wide survey showing the challenges faced by largely untrained prison staff responsible for the care and resettlement of people with learning difficulties.
Talbot added: “It cannot be right either to lock up so many people with learning difficulties or to neglect the needs of those few who need to be held securely.”