Like anyone else, people with disabilities come into contact with the criminal justice system in various ways. However, people with disabilities are more likely to experience victimization, be arrested, be charged with a crime, and serve longer prison sentences once convicted, than those without disabilities.
While, proposed criminal justice reforms, and the work of advocacy groups have begun to address our broken justice system with minorities, there is still much work to be done to consider the intersection and impact on individuals with disabilities.
The ADA requires criminal justice entities; including attorneys, courts, jails, juvenile justice entities, police, prisons, prosecutors, and public defense attorneys—to avoid discriminating against people with disabilities. Entities must ensure that people with disabilities are treated equally in the criminal justice system and that they have equal opportunity to benefit from safe, inclusive communities
People with disabilities and their families often lack understanding of what is happening and how to obtain resources that can help them when they do get involved in the system. Just like families, justice professionals may lack the experience and knowledge about people with disabilities. leading to misidentification of disability, a risk of false confessions, inaccurate assumptions about competency, and the unknowing waivers of rights.
The Arc of Louisiana recognized the need to address the lack of knowledge and understanding of the system for individuals with disabilities and law enforcement. In doing so, we provide training and education to individuals with disabilities, families, human service professionals, and law enforcement on interactions and resources that are available to them. We developed a online resource to share current and accurate information on legal and disability issues, terminology and available resources between the criminal justice and human service systems. You can get to this online resource by logging on to www.ldlr.org .
The establishment and maintenance of this website is made possible through several grants (90DP0022, 90DP0092, 90DPAD0010) from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation (NIDRR) and the Southwest ADA Center.
*Interested in a training?
We provide training and education to self-advocates, families, human service professionals and law enforcement. To learn more, contact The Arc of Louisiana at 225-383-1033.