No One Knows

inside of a prison cell with an empty bed

No One Knows was supported by The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and chaired by the Rt Hon the Baroness Joyce Quin, former prisons minister for England and Wales. Mencap was a partner organisation of No One Knows

Although the programme concluded in 2008, PRT retains an interest in this work, in particular through the implementation phase of the Bradley Report. The focus on offenders with learning disabilities is being further addressed through PRT's programme on reducing child imprisonment, Out of Trouble.

Most research in the UK and internationally follows a relatively strict definition of learning disability based on IQ measures of 70 or below, or focuses on dyslexia with relatively limited reference to other learning difficulties.

No One Knows, on the other hand, examines both learning disabilities, as defined in the Valuing People White Paper (Department of Health 2001), and learning difficulties, which include a wider range of impairments such as dyslexia and autistic spectrum disorders.    

To download No One Knows publications please click here

The UK forensic and learning disability network is a FREE network open to anyone with an interest in people with a learning disability in secure settings or the criminal justice system.  The network is one of six networks which are concerned with people with a learning disability.  Click here for further information. 


No One Knows news update 19 09 11


Keyring members danny mcdowell & graham keeton

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Latest news on people with learning disabilities in prison

Ahead of today's (25 November) Spending Review the Care not Custody Coalition, established following the tragic death by suicide of a WI member's son suffering from schizophrenia, has written a letter in today's edition of The Times.

You can read the letter by clicking 'read more'.

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Families play a key role supporting vulnerable people through the criminal justice system but are often let down by a lack of effective support and accessible information. Too many face high levels of social stigma and isolation, a new joint report by the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) and POPS (Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group) reveals.

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Too many women, many of whom are mothers, are sent to prison every year to serve short sentences for non-violent crimes, often for a first offence, a new Prison Reform Trust (PRT) briefing reveals.

The briefing marks the launch of a drive by the Prison Reform Trust,  supported by a £1.2 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund, to reduce the number of women who are sent to prison for minor non-violent offences.

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A rapid expansion in the prison population in England and Wales over the past twenty years is placing a growing burden on the taxpayer while reoffending rates out of prison have remained stubbornly high, according to a new report by the Prison Reform Trust.

Analysis published in Prison: The Facts estimates that in 2014 the cost of holding that increased population at today’s costs was an extra £1.22bn compared with twenty years ago—a cost of over £40 per year for every UK taxpayer.

This extra funding of prison places is equivalent to employing an additional 56,000 newly qualified nurses.

Click 'read more' for the full story.

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A prison system built to hold young men is struggling to cope with the rapidly growing numbers of old, sick and disabled people behind bars, a new Prison Reform Trust report, supported by the Bromley Trust, reveals.

The report, launched at HMP Brixton today (Tuesday 28 October), comes the day before the Prisons Minister Andrew Selous MP is due to give evidence on older prisoners to the Justice Select Committee.

People aged 60 and over and those aged 50–59 are the first and second fastest growing age groups in the prison population. Between 2002 and 2014 there was an increase of 146% and 122% in the number of prisoners held in those age groups respectively. On 31 March 2014 there were 102 people in prison aged 80 and over. Five people in prison were 90 or older.

Ever-lengthening sentences mean people in prison are growing old and frail with high rates of unmet social care and support needs. Two in five (37%) of those over the age of 50 in prison have a disability.

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Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP delivered a speech last night (10 July 2014) outlining how the government is ensuring that people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and other support needs caught up in the criminal justice system are identified and diverted into appropriate healthcare and support services.

Click 'read more' to read a full transcript of the speech and download a copy of the Care not Custody briefing paper launched at the event.

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A new report by the Prison Reform Trust, supported by the Bromley Trust, shows a system under significant strain with fewer staff, worsening safety, and fewer opportunities for rehabilitation.

Unprecedented cuts to the Ministry of Justice budget, due to total £2.4bn by 2015-16 , are creating a race to the bottom in prison conditions and the warehousing of people in super-sized jails, according to the Prison Reform Trust’s new report Prison: the facts.

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Commenting on the Criminal Justice Joint Inspectorate report, A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system: phase 1 from arrest to sentence, Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

“This report reveals that at every turn people with learning disabilities caught up in the justice system are being let down by a failure to recognise and meet their needs. Often vulnerable and isolated, people with learning disabilities are getting little or no help to understand and navigate a scary and incomprehensible world of police stations and courts."

Click read more to see our full comment.

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A letter from the Care not Custody Coalition published in the Guardian on Friday January 10 2014 welcomed the government's announcement launching a trial scheme posting mental health nurses in police stations in 10 areas in England. However the coalition urged the government to stick to its new deadline of national delivery by 2017, three years later than originally planned.

Click the link below to read the letter and find out more about the Care not Custody Coalition.

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Nearly half of people in prison in England and Wales could be warehoused in 1,000-plus supersized jails under government plans to transform the prison estate, the latest edition of the Prison Reform Trust's Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile reveals.

A shorter summary version, Prison: The Facts, is available for iPad and iPhone on the App Store and for Android devices via Google Play.

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