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Understanding offenders with autism-spectrum disorders: what can forensic services do?: Commentary on… Asperger Syndrome and Criminal Behaviour

  • David Murphy
Summary

This commentary aims to support and elaborate on some of the specific issues raised by Dein & Woodbury-Smith. Although I agree with many of their comments, I believe that the role of neuropsychological and sensory impairments, as well as dysfunctional coping strategies among individuals with an autism-spectrum disorder who offend, need to be expanded from a psychological perspective. In my experience, the assessment of these factors plays a crucial role in guiding opinions on mental capacity, individual interventions, risk assessment and management. Elements of psychopathy in autism also require clarification. It could be argued that by understanding these issues, any attempts at social inclusion and preventing offending will be more successful.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
David Murphy, Broadmoor Hospital, Crowthorne, Berkshire RG45 7EG, UK. Email: david.murphy@wlmht.nhs.uk
Footnotes
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See pp. 37–43, this issue.

Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Attwood, T (2007) The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Barnard, J, Prior, A, Potter, D (2000) Inclusion and Autism: Is It Working? The National Autistic Society (http://www.nas.org.uk/content/1/c4/34/77/inclusion.pdf).
Barnard, J, Harvey, V, Potter, D et al (2001) Ignored or Ineligible? The Reality for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The National Autistic Society (http://www.autism.org.uk/content/1/c4/28/61/ignored.pdf).
Berney, T (2004) Asperger syndrome from childhood into adulthood. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment; 10: 341–51.
Dein, K, Woodbury-Smith, M (2009) Asperger syndrome and criminal behaviour. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment; 15: 3743.
Department for Constitutional Affairs (2007) Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice. TSO (The Stationery Office) (http://www.dca.gov.uk/legal-policy/mental-capacity/mca-cp.pdf).
Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships Directorate (2009) A Better Future: A Consultation on a Future Strategy for Adults with Autistic Spectrum Conditions. Department of Health (http://adultautismstrategy.dialoguebydesign.net/rp/A_Better_Future_Autism_ACC.pdf).
Gaus, VL (2007) Cognitive–Behavioural Therapy for Adult Asperger Syndrome. Guilford Press.
Hare, RD (2003) The Hare Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL–R). Technical Manual (2nd edn). Multi-Health Systems.
Howlin, P (2000) Outcome in adult life for more able individuals with autism or Asperger's syndrome. Autism; 4: 6383.
Murphy, D (2007) Hare PCL–R profiles of male patients with Asperger's syndrome detained in high security psychiatric care. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology; 18: 120–6.
North, A, Russell, A, Gudjonsson, G (2008) High functioning autism spectrum disorders: an investigation of psychological vulnerabilities during interrogative interview. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology; 19: 323–34.
Powell, A (2002) Taking Responsibility: Good Practice Guidelines for Services – Adults with Asperger Syndrome. The National Autistic Society (http://www.nas.org.uk/content/1/c4/39/26/takeresp.pdf).
Rogers, J, Viding, E, Blair, J et al (2006) Autism spectrum disorder and psychopathy: shared cognitive underpinnings or double hit? Psychological Medicine; 36: 1789–98.
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 1355-5146
  • EISSN: 1472-1481
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Understanding offenders with autism-spectrum disorders: what can forensic services do?: Commentary on… Asperger Syndrome and Criminal Behaviour

  • David Murphy
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