Mission Focus

National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability: Pathways to Justice Pilot Program

| Updated July 15, 2018

Protecting the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

The Arc Pikes Peak Region is a Colorado Springs, Colorado-based nonprofit that envisions a community where all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are embraced and respected. They promote and protect the human rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and actively support their full inclusion and participation in the communities of the Pikes Peak Region throughout their lifetimes.

Background

The Arc Pikes Peak Region (The Arc PPR) is a Colorado Springs, Colorado-based nonprofit that works to promote and protect the human rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) through targeted advocacy. More specifically, judicial advocacy is one of The Arc PPR’s primary focuses, as citizens with I/DD are over-represented in the criminal justice system. Many citizens with disabilities end up in the criminal justice system with their disability playing a role in the situation that led them there. They may be as a victim, a witness or someone accused of a crime.

  • 50 percent of people with mild intellectual and developmental disabilities could not correctly paraphrase any of the 5 Miranda Components (source).
  • In 2012, people with disabilities experienced: 233,000 robberies, 195,200 aggravated assaults, 838,600 simple assaults, and 80,100 rapes or other sexual assaults. (source).
  • An estimated 32 percent of prisoners and 40 percent of jail inmates reported having at least one disability (source).
  • More than 60 individuals with I/DD have been executed since 1983 in the U.S. based on false confessions (source).

Training Program for Criminal Justice Professionals & Tangible Results

Individuals with I/DD and their families are often caught in a gap in knowledge between the criminal justice system and the disability community, making it difficult to navigate the criminal justice system. As one of five chapters of The Arc selected to pilot the Pathways to Justice Program. The Arc Pikes Peak Region has the opportunity to train criminal justice professionals through the Pathways to Justice Program (PTJ). Training topics include:

  • Information on why the I/DD population is high-risk
  • Increasing awareness and debunking myths about the I/DD population
  • Defining disability, identification and communication
  • Applying the Americans with Disabilities Act to law enforcement services

Results

The Arc Pikes Peak Region, one of five out of 700 US Chapters of The Arc selected to pilot the Pathways to Justice Program, achieved desired results with the Colorado Springs, Colorado-area law enforcement when the nonprofit’s training of local criminal justice professionals resulted in a young man with a developmental disability, caught in the criminal justice system, receiving the due process he was entitled to under the law.

The Arc Pikes Peak Region was recognized for these positive results in the August 2016 issue of Empower Magazine. Training offered through the Pathways to Justice Program also helps to keep people with I/DD out of prison (the Department of Corrections). For every individual The Arc Pikes Peak Region keeps out of prison, the state of Colorado saves approximately $32,000.

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