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McArthur: Treating brain injuries could reduce crime

July 15, 2016 9:32 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrats have called on the Scottish Government to better address the needs of people with brain injuries in the criminal justice system or at risk of offending, after a new report recommended new screening arrangements and assessments in prisons.

The report published by the National Prisoner Healthcare Network, 'Brain Injury and Offending', was commissioned by the Scottish Government following investigations by the Justice Committee.

The report cited that there is a "significant association" between head injury and alcohol use, social deprivation and crime. Its recommendations also included more training for staff and consideration of a 6 to 8 bed low secure brain injury rehabilitation unit.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson, Liam McArthur MSP, has tabled parliamentary questions and pressed the Scottish Government to adopt the recommendations of the report. He commented:

"There is no doubt that significant association between brain injuries and offending behaviour exists.

"Prisoners are four and a half times more likely to have experienced brain injuries than the general population. There is an indisputable need to better identify and treat brain injuries, both to reduce the likelihood of people reoffending and to prevent their offending in the first place. It could help reduce crime as well as improve people's health and care.

"Implementing the recommendations of this report would be an important step towards reducing the chance of people with brain injuries becoming entangled in the criminal justice system."