Effective Responses to Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities: Generalist and Specialist Services Working Together

Kathy Ellem, Jill Wilson, Wing Hong Chui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Despite policies of deinstitutionalisation, many people with intellectual disabilities in developed western countries continue to live in mainstream institutional settings, such as correctional facilities, rather than in the community with support from disability services. This paper reports on the life stories of 10 people with intellectual disabilities, who had been imprisoned in adult correctional facilities in Queensland. The pathways taken by these 10 people into and out of prison are marked by significant abuse, neglect, and poverty. Significant disparity and disconnection is also displayed between the policies and service approaches, particularly between the disability, mental health, and correctional systems in Queensland. Based on these findings, a framework for practice, which spans both generic and specialist services, is suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-412
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Criminal Justice
  • Disability
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Life Stories
  • Offenders
  • Qualitative Research
  • Service Responses
  • Social Services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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