Revisiting Disability Rights in the Current Context of U.S. Criminal Justice Reform Efforts

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Contemporary Politics and Society".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 7137

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Social Work, The University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL 32514, USA
Interests: criminal justice; death penalty policy; disability policy; interdisciplinary

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Guest Editor
Department of Social Work, Athens Technical College, Athens, GA 30601, USA
Interests: forensic and legal aspects of social work policy; death penalty in the United States; the theoretical study of crime and deviance in American society; the history, prevalence, and etiology of intimate partner violence; trafficking in persons

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Differences within and between legal and clinical definitions of disability have profound consequences for people with disabilities who are involved in the U.S. criminal justice system, as well as for their family members, loved ones, and communities. As an example, defendants with intellectual disabilities may not be able to meet states’ high evidentiary standards used in death penalty cases, and so in this way may be rendered not only vulnerable to an unlawful imposition of death but also to the wrongful denial of accommodations, as per the Americans with Disabilities Act, while in state or federal penal custody.

The aim of the present Special Issue, entitled Revisiting Disability Rights in the Current Context of U.S. Criminal Justice Reform Efforts, is to highlight the relationships within and contradictions between U.S. criminal jurisprudence and disability policy that have social, political, economic, and legal implications for people with disabilities—and for broader U.S. criminal justice reform efforts. From a critical, structural perspective, the inclusion of disability-related issues and policies is paramount to advancing comprehensive criminal justice reform in the United States. Furthermore, the inclusion of a critical disability perspective may be instrumental in understanding the role of social exclusion in institutional processes and the crafting of related policies.

Dr. Lauren Ricciardelli
Dr. John R. Barner
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • U.S. criminal justice
  • criminal justice reform
  • civil rights
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • disability policy
  • intellectual/developmental disabilities
  • disability
  • death penalty

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Review

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13 pages, 293 KiB  
Review
Criminal Legal Systems and the Disability Community: An Overview
by Sandra M. Leotti and Elspeth Slayter
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(6), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11060255 - 9 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3821
Abstract
While the scale and scope of the criminal legal system is often discussed with attention to racial disproportionalities, the fact that disabled people are overrepresented at all points in the system is less discussed by social workers. Disabled people come into contact with [...] Read more.
While the scale and scope of the criminal legal system is often discussed with attention to racial disproportionalities, the fact that disabled people are overrepresented at all points in the system is less discussed by social workers. Disabled people come into contact with the criminal legal system as suspects, defendants, incarcerated persons, victims, and witnesses. Compared to people without disabilities, disabled people are more likely to experience victimization, be arrested, be charged with a crime, and serve longer prison sentences once convicted. These trends are even more profound for disabled people with intersecting marginalized identities, such as people of color, women, poor people, and those who identify as LGBTQ. This article provides an overview of the connections between disability, law enforcement, and practices of imprisonment in the United States. We provide a historical overview of the involvement of disabled people in the criminal legal system, review the prevalence of disability in the criminal legal system, and then discuss the unique ways in which disabled people are impacted by the criminal legal system. We conclude by providing recommendations for social work practice and advocacy based in disability justice. Full article

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23 pages, 1301 KiB  
Systematic Review
COVID-19, Mental Illness, and Incarceration in the United States: A Systematic Review, 2019–2021
by Lauren A. Ricciardelli, Erin A. King and Meghan Broadley
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(11), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11110521 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2667
Abstract
In 2019, the viral pandemic known as COVID-19 touched and indelibly impacted the global community, including the United States. The impact of COVID-19 was particularly onerous for the US’s incarcerated. Not only is the United States the leading incarcerator in the world, but [...] Read more.
In 2019, the viral pandemic known as COVID-19 touched and indelibly impacted the global community, including the United States. The impact of COVID-19 was particularly onerous for the US’s incarcerated. Not only is the United States the leading incarcerator in the world, but the the carceral system represents the nation’s largest de facto mental health treatment setting. The carceral system is overrepresented by people of color, people with disabilities, and people of lower socioeconomic status—with great overlap between these populations. In combination with tough-on-crime policies, the US prison population also now finds itself aging, a process accelerated by confinement. The present systematic literature review describes the current state of peer-reviewed scholarship addressing the impact of COVID-19 on mental illness, incarceration, and their intersection in the United States. To be considered for inclusion, articles (1) were based in the United States or, if a global study, explicitly inclusive of the United States; (2) addressed COVID-19 and mental illness, COVID-19 and US incarceration, or COVID-19 and mental illness and US incarceration; and (3) were published or in-press between December 2019 and October 2021, as either a peer-reviewed commentary or research article in an academic journal. The final literature sample yielded 34 peer-reviewed articles. Ten themes and accompanying figures were developed within each of the three intersections: Intersection #1, COVID-19 and mental illness; Intersection #2, COVID-19 and US incarceration; and Intersection #3, COVID-19 and mental illness and US incarceration. Implications for respective US policies, programs, and systems are discussed. Full article
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