Criminals or Victims: How Students With Intellectual Disabilities Become Incarcerated

This session is from the NASP 2021 Annual Convention

  • PMD: 4,6
  • Skill Level: Introduction

Learner Objectives

This session will help participants…

  1. increase their knowledge base about incarceration on the ID population, including the most common reasons why students with ID are incarcerated, rates of incarceration, and demographics of individuals incarcerated.
  2. identify gaps in educational programming where school psychologists can intervene and disrupt school-based pathways to juvenile justice.
  3. construct proactive interventions to serve as protective factors for individuals with ID at risk of being incarcerated.


People with intellectual disabilities (ID) are at an increased risk of both committing offenses and becoming victims of crime. This has been connected to deficits in educational programming (e.g., adaptive, communication, problem-solving skills). Attendees will review preliminary findings from a study examining the primary causes of incarceration of individuals with ID, discuss the connection between school-based pathways to juvenile justice and school curricula, and brainstorm how school psychologists can proactively address educational shortcomings.



Devadrita Talapatra, University of Denver
Jillian M. Talley, University of Denver


Shayna C. Williams


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