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Study sheds new light on brain injury management in prison
21 Feb 2019

A personal injury lawyer has welcomed a new study that has confirmed a strong link between brain injuries and criminal offending.

The research by The Disabilities Trust, in collaboration with Royal Holloway, University of London, found that of the 173 women screened 64 per cent reported a history indicative of a brain injury and of those, 96 per cent reported a history indicative of a traumatic brain injury.

Susan Todhunter, a Partner in our Catastrophic Injury team, said the findings were important:

It has long been acknowledged that the prison population has a higher instance of people with brain injuries but this pioneering study has illustrated just what an issue it is among women.

Of the women investigated during the two-year study, 33 per cent had suffered brain injury before they were jailed for the first time. The results have led The Disabilities Trust to call for brain injury screening to be included as part of the routine assessment when people are sent to prison or for probation, for prison and probation staff to receive basic brain injury awareness training and for brain injury support services to be provided in prison and probation settings.

This research further demonstrates the serious and far reaching impact a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have and that more needs to be done to provide support to those affected.

Whilst not everyone who suffers a TBI will commit crime the impact in terms of a victim’s cognitive function, behaviour and physical and mental health can increase the risks of anti social and challenging behaviour. This needs to be better identified and understood within the prison and probation service and not punished.

This project also sheds light on how gender specific support services can benefit TBI sufferers as well as the need for care and support pathways that suits a person’s specific need. This study is to be welcomed and hopefully acted upon.

* A leader in her field, Susan heads our Catastrophic Injury Team, dealing with high value and complex catastrophic injury claims. In particular, she has extensive experience of acting for claimants who have suffered traumatic brain injury and has successfully secured a number of multimillion pound settlements for her clients. Such cases include a £7m settlement for Ms J, a passenger who suffered serious brain and orthopaedic injuries as a result of a road traffic accident, and a £1.5million settlement for a lorry driver who suffered a serious concussion and facial injuries.

Meet Susan Todhunter