The Prison Reform Trust welcomes the publication today by the Sentencing Council of Overarching principles: Sentencing offenders with mental disorders, developmental disorders, or neurological impairments.

A high proportion of people in contact with the criminal justice system have mental health needs, learning disability or a neurological disorder. We hope that the new guideline will provide clarity and transparency for the sentencing of these individuals and help to ensure that their specific needs are taken into account and met in the sentencing process.

In April 2019 the Sentencing Council published a 13-week consultation on a draft guideline. During this time a roundtable seminar was held by the Magistrates Association and the Prison Reform Trust to discuss the draft guideline. A written response to the draft guideline informed by the roundtable is available by clicking here.

We are pleased to see a number of points raised in our response, along with points raised by other charities and organisation, have been taken forward in the final guideline. These include improvements to the title of the guideline, greater clarity around co-morbidities with drug and / or alcohol dependence, and better information on acquired brain injury. The Sentencing Council’s response to the consultation is available by clicking here.