Although people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are not more likely to commit crimes, they are overrepresented in the criminal justice system as reported by Howlin (Autism and Asperger syndrome: Preparing for adulthood, Routledge, 2004). This may, in part, be due to unfavourable interactions with the criminal judiciary. Evidence suggests the autistic population are perceived unfavourably in adjudicative proceedings resulting in harsher penalties. The present study explores whether ASD offenders (ASD-O) receive longer sentences compared to national sentencing data. Sentencing data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) were used to compare ASD-O with similar offences. ASD-O attracted longer sentences across all offence classifications. Inferential analyses indicated sexual assault sentences were significantly higher in the ASD-O sample. No significant differences were found for murder, manslaughter, and assault.
- Criminal behaviour
- Punishment—criminal justice