Navigating the criminal justice system can be confusing, and frightening regardless of ability. Imagine being unable to read or to understand the all of the jargon which makes up the many documents and legal procedures. Imagine feeling like an observer while potentially life-changing decisions are made on your behalf. These are just some of the obstacles faced by people with learning disabilities in the criminal justice system.
With the help of some generous funding from the Law Society Charity and our dedicated authors and artist, we have produced three new editions of our books about the criminal justice system: You’re under Arrest, You’re on Trial and Going to Court. These three books have been revised and updated in-line with current legal practices and procedures to help people with learning disabilities understand what is happening, or going to happen to them. In Going to Court we have also included additional information about special measures. All of the books will help staff working on the frontline in the criminal justice system to communicate effectively with people who find pictures easier to understand than words and, in turn, ease their fears and support them to make informed choices.
Here is an overview of each book:
You’re under Arrest is a story about what happens when a person is arrested. Some people call this being ‘nicked’. The police arrest people who they think have done a crime. People who are under arrest often feel worried about what will happen. They do not know what to do. This book will help people to understand what is happening when they are arrested, even if what happens to Dave in this story is not exactly the same as what happens to them.
You’re on Trial is about what happens when someone is accused of a crime. It will help you if you have been accused of a crime and have to go to court for a trial. In our story we see what happens to Dave when he has to go on trial in a Magistrates’ Court, and we also see what a Magistrates’ Court looks like. The story is told in pictures without any words although there is text at the back of the book which may be useful too. You can make any story you like from this book as the pictures will fit any crime and any verdict.
Going to Court tells the story of Anita who is hurt by a man, and reports it to the police. When the case goes to court, Anita has to give evidence. She gets ready to be a witness by reading this book and visiting the court first. When the day comes Anita is nervous, but she tells the truth and gives evidence well. This book shows what happens when a woman is a witness at a Crown Court. It explains who she meets there and how the court works. Lots of stories will fit this book. The pictures suit any crime and any verdict. This new edition has updated text and resources, including information about special measures.
To see all 6 of the Beyond Words books on Criminal Justice click here.
The Beyond Words Team