Justice & Fair Treatment Under Criminal Law
The Constitution and Bill of Rights protect and guarantee fair treatment in the criminal justice system to all individuals, including those with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.
It is The Arc New York’s position that:
- Fair treatment requires consideration of all aspects of the individual and his or her circumstances, including the presence of intellectual and other developmental disabilities.
- It is essential that defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges, court personnel, forensic evaluators, law enforcement personnel, victim assistance providers and criminal justice policymakers be informed about intellectual and other developmental disabilities as they affect the behavior of an individual, in order to ensure fair treatment.
- Advocates who understand intellectual and other developmental disabilities and the criminal justice system must be made available to confer with individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities prior to and during questioning by law enforcement personnel.
- The local chapter, The Arc New York and The Arc are the preferred sources of information on issues relating to people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities for the purpose of education, training and support with the criminal justice system and related personnel.
- The criminal court system must recognize that the presence of intellectual and other developmental disabilities does not necessarily affect the credibility of a witness if the necessary and appropriate supports are provided.
- Sentencing, treatment, habilitation or other services for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities must take the disability into consideration.
- Opportunity for treatment or services shall not be denied to people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, solely on the basis of criminal charge or background.
- The presence of intellectual and other developmental disabilities may raise issues of miscommunication, misinformation and a challenge to providing an adequate defense to the extent that imposition of the death penalty is unacceptable.
- We acknowledge that in 2004, the death penalty was declared unconstitutional by the New York Court of Appeals. We are ever watchful of any changes that might occur and stand in solidarity with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who may be subject to the death penalty in other states and territories.
- When an individual has been court-ordered to the custody of the Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, the individual must be provided with appropriate clinical treatment and opportunities for re-introduction into society.