Thursday, July 01, 2010

Autism Training Bill in Massachusetts

Autism training for law enforcement and corrections officers is an important way to educate those who serve the community, so that both autistic people and criminal justice professionals are better informed and better able to have positive interactions with another.

In Massachusetts, I have authored a bill which would mandate autism training for law enforcement and corrections officers. House No. 4811, relative to the curriculum taught at the municipal police training schools, which is "An Act relative to the criminal justice training regarding persons with an autism spectrum disorder" is currently with the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. It was referred to this committee last week, with both the House and Senate concurring. The primary legislative sponsor is State Rep. Katherine Clark.

It must be released from this committee in order to progress in the legislative process. Please write, phone, and email the the members of the Committee respectfully asking for the bill to be released. For email, you will need to visit and individually navigate to the committee member's page.

Here are some talking points for your letters, emails, and phone calls:

- 1 in 91 people have an autism spectrum disorder.
- People with autism are 7 times more like than typical people to have an encounter with police.
- People with autism are particularly vulnerable to be victims of crime.
- People with autism have communication difficulties that can impair their ability to respond appropriately to police.
- People with autism are very susceptible to common interrogation techniques because they take language literally.
- People with autism are at extreme risk of abuse in correctional facilities.
- There is very little training regularly offered for police or correction officers in Massachusetts.
- Being informed about autism can reduce the number of unfortunate incidents by educating police and correction officers to better equip them to handle such situations.
- Educating police about autism helps ensure the safety of both autistic citizens and our police.

Here are links concerning the bill. Blessings and peace, Lydia M. X. Z. Brown (PDF of the bill, original text) (legislative tracking system)

FACEBOOK: 8/1/10: Lydia Marie XinZhen Brown Hi, saw your blog post with my letter about the autism training bill. Unfortunately, it was killed yesterday in committee and I will be refiling in January. Please read the column at the left, left click on all of the posting titles, pictures, and underlined blue words. Please click below, on "Comments, Reactions, & Feedback", below, to read reviews, and or write your own reply. This means a great deal to me.Each box, below the date below, corresponds to the letter of your choice: A = Funny. B = Informative. C = Clever. D = Disagree. E = Excellent. F = Frivolous.1) Please place your cursor arrow onto the little white box, next to the letter, that represents your selection. 2) press down to click. 3) A check mark will then appear, showing that you have voted. The counter for that box, will increment by your one rating (#).

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