Brain Waves - Neuro-Science and The Criminal Courts

From April 2021 all prisoners in England will be screened for Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) as a result of domestic abuse. The Disabilities Trust has led a five-year campaign to ensure a greater awareness of brain injury in prisoners since a large proportion of the prison population has a history of brain trauma.  Statutory guidance will now include consideration of brain injury as part of the Domestic Abuse Bill.

It’s a good start – in time, it is hoped that the screening will be extended to all prisoners. There will be no free MRI or CT brain scans in prison to diagnose the problem or any quick fix solutions. Instead, prisoners will be provided with a questionnaire inviting them to answer such questions as – have they ever experienced a blow to the head? Have they ever lost consciousness? Have they any past medical history concerning their brain? It presents an opportunity to raise awareness amongst those within the prison estate – and with the prisoner too – because the head injury sustained as an adolescent may still be impacting on the individual’s adult life.

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