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Offenders with mental retardation

1. Descibe a special probation/parole client and programs that have been established to address this problem client.

2. List 2 to 3 examples of programs that have been created. List their strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures.

3. Discuss plans for a new program by using the strengths from some of the researched programs. How and why would this program be a success?

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1) Offenders with mental retardation are a small but growing segment of the population under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system. In most states, that system makes little or no allowance for the disabilities of such offenders, resulting in sentences that are inequitably harsh and costlier to the public than necessary. People with mental retardation are usually defined as those with an IQ below 70. They typically have a childlike quality of thinking and are slow in learning new material. Mentally retarded persons have little long-term perspective and little ability to understand the consequences of their actions. They are usually followers and are easily manipulated. (Keep in mind: the mentally retarded are not typically mentally ill; mental illness can strike persons at any level of intellectual functioning.)
People with mental retardation are typically housed with the general prison population, where they are often abused or victimized. They rely on physical responses to physical threats and are thus often reclassified to higher security levels after conflict with other inmates. That, together with a poor record of program participation and an inability to impress parole boards on interview, makes them less likely to be granted parole as early as the average inmate. Once released, mentally retarded persons often have problems meeting their parole requirements and find it more difficult than the average inmate to find a job.
The end result is that this special group lacks an opportunity to respond to the challenges thrown at them by the criminal justice system in the same way as more intelligent ...

Solution Summary

Offenders with mental retardation are discussed.