Achieva and The Arc Erie County Announce Affiliation

Misrepresentation in the criminal justice system

The Disability and Justice Community Collaboration (DJCC) Initiative

DJCCI creates collaborative partnerships between law enforcement, emergency medical services, courts, criminal justice professionals, victim services, and the disability community.

Nationally, people with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. A US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report from 2015 found that 2 in 10 prisoners and 3 in 10 inmates have a cognitive disability. Intellectual disability and developmental delay (IDD) is the most common disability reported among prisoners and inmates. Co-occurring IDD and mental health diagnosis is another large percentage of the prison population. An additional report from BJS found that people with disabilities are victimized at 2.5 times the rate of people without disabilities. People with disabilities need help, as do the criminal justice professionals who are working with them. 

We continue to celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, but we must realize that there are still obstacles for people with disabilities, especially in the justice system. Title II of the ADA explains the nondiscrimination requirements, such as providing reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures and taking appropriate steps to communicate effectively with people with disabilities. It also supports the goals of ensuring public safety, promoting public welfare, and avoiding unnecessary criminal justice involvement for people with disabilities. 

The Disability and Justice Community Collaboration Initiative can provide training and resources for professionals in criminal justice, law enforcement, emergency medical services, courts, and victim services to help people with disabilities who are victims of crime or possible criminal defendants. There is also a focus on diversion, with an overall emphasis on skills needed to work more effectively with people with disabilities and understanding that "Crisis is Not Crime." And Achieva will also create a stakeholder group of people with disabilities, families, and professionals who will work together to develop resources, policies, and practices to better support people with disabilities who are victims of criminal defendants.