Offenders with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Clare L. Melvin, Glynis H. Murphy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Adults and young people with autism can sometimes break the law, just like anyone without autism. Autistic populations with a forensic history are present in criminal justice systems (CJS) and in mental health facilities. Offenders with autism display a range of criminal acts and illegal behaviors and are found across the lifespan. Questions arise regarding the possible influence or role played by autism in committing an offence, and whether the cognitive and behavioral profile associated with the diagnosis affects positive treatment outcomes and further offending. Currently, the needs of autistic offenders are met through justice or health and social care pathways, however the is a dearth of literature regarding treatment for this groups and best practice for those with autism who break the law. High quality research on autism and offending behavior is needed, particularly in light of discourses on difference and neurodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Subtitle of host publicationAssessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment
EditorsJohnny L. Matson, Peter Sturmey
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-88538-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-88537-3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2022

Cite this