Nick, Nell & Chloe

Going to pot: Nick’s journey through the criminal justice system

Nick is an autistic adult. In May 2005, aged 26, he was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and actual bodily harm. In our chapter, Nick shares his story about his involvement in the criminal justice system and his family’s battle to get help for him. He talks about the crisis he experienced before his arrest and how his experiences in the criminal justice system affected him.

Reflecting on Nick’s experiences, our chapter discusses the implications that Articles 12 – 14 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities have for supporting individuals such as Nick. It examines the decisions made about Nick’s care and the role these played in his involvement in the criminal justice system. Our chapter also highlights the need to provide appropriate accommodations to ensure that individuals such as Nick are able to effectively participate in the criminal justice system and how a failure to do this could lead to further long-term consequences. Finally, it concludes by illustrating how Nick’s story emphasises the consequences of failing to listen to the voices of disabled people and their families and the need for effective interventions that take these voices into account.

You can watch a video of Nick and Nell presenting here. Their presentation starts at 34:48.

About the authors

image001My name is Nicholas Clarke.

I am from England.

My 7 word autobiography is: Dedication, determination, motivation, loyalty, honesty, equality and fair justice.

I have experience in ‘Hidden Disability’ within the British Justice System. I was formally diagnosed with Asperger syndrome aged 25 during a breakdown period that was poorly managed by the authorities.


My name is Nell Munro

I am from England

My 7 word autobiography is – friendly mental health lawyer loves cheese can’t count!

I am particularly interested in the experiences of disabled people in the criminal justice system.

I work in a law department where I teach mental health and social welfare law. I also research mental health and mental capacity law. Before going into law I worked as a mental health advocate in hospital and for people with mental health needs living in the community, and worked as an advice worker for a charity supporting people on the autism spectrum.

SAM_4378My name is Chloe Hocking

I am from England

My 7 word autobiography is: full-time student – part-time fitness fanatic/crafter/baker

I have experience of carrying out research which explores the experiences of autistic individuals in police custody. My PhD focuses on learning more about the difficulties autistic individuals may experience in police custody and understanding the ways they could be supported in this setting. I am particularly interested in how the law under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 operates and whether legal reform is needed to satisfy the wider obligations towards disabled people under the Equality Act 2010 and CRPD.