Brief Report: Judicial Attitudes Regarding the Sentencing of Offenders with High Functioning Autism

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Abstract

This brief report presents preliminary data on the attitudes of judges on the sentencing of offenders with High Functioning Autism (HFA). Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with twenty-one California Superior Court Judges. Interviews were qualitatively coded and constant comparative analysis was utilized. Findings revealed that judges consider HFA as both a mitigating and aggravating factor in sentencing, and knowledge of an offender’s disorder could potentially help judges understand why a criminal action might have been committed. Judges voiced concerns about the criminal justice system being able to effectively help or offer sentencing options for offenders with HFA. Finally, judges reported that they are focused on using their judicial powers and influence to provide treatment and other resources during sentencing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2770-2773
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume46
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Keywords

  • High Functioning Autism (HFA)
  • Judiciary
  • Prison
  • Punishment
  • Sentencing

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