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Enhancing early detection of cognitive impairment in the criminal justice system: feasibility of a proposed method


Jeanneret, R and Spiranovic, C and Eckstein, L and McWhirter, R and Arstein-Kerslake, A and Scanlan, J and Kirkby, K and Watters, P and Vickers, J, Enhancing early detection of cognitive impairment in the criminal justice system: feasibility of a proposed method, Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 31, (1) pp. 60-74. ISSN 1034-5329 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2019 Sydney Institute of Criminology

DOI: doi:10.1080/10345329.2018.1556283


Persons with cognitive impairment(s) are overrepresented in the criminal justice system(CJS) yet many instances of cognitive impairment go undiagnosed. As this article outlines, it would be both desirable and feasible to use automated alerts to flag accused persons who may require assistance in interacting with the CJS either due to a confirmed or likely diagnosis of a cognitive impairment or other relevant condition. A proposed method to develop this alert system is outlined, combining Natural Language Processing (NLP) applied to Electronic Health Records (EHRs) with data linkage (DL)of health and CJS data. Although there are technical barriers, this article focuses on the ethical and legal barriers of this proposed approach. It is concluded that the overall benefits of the proposed alert system would likely outweigh potential adverse outcomes. It is argued that a waiver of consent would be appropriate and that legal barriers, in terms of privacy legislation at both Federal and State levels, which apply varying requirements for the disclosure of personal information, may be overcome in part through de-identification strategies. The examples provided in this paper of criminological data linkage projects support the feasibility of the method proposed.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:criminal justice system, cognitive impairment, early detection, natural language processing, data linkage, electronic health records, ethics, privacy, mental health
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Causes and prevention of crime
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Criminal justice
UTAS Author:Jeanneret, R (Ms Ruthie Jeanneret)
UTAS Author:Spiranovic, C (Dr Caroline Spiranovic)
UTAS Author:Eckstein, L (Dr Lisa Eckstein)
UTAS Author:McWhirter, R (Dr Rebekah McWhirter)
UTAS Author:Arstein-Kerslake, A (Dr Anna Arstein-Kerslake)
UTAS Author:Scanlan, J (Dr Joel Scanlan)
UTAS Author:Kirkby, K (Professor Kenneth Kirkby)
UTAS Author:Vickers, J (Professor James Vickers)
ID Code:128870
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Information and Communication Technology
Deposited On:2018-10-19
Last Modified:2020-08-21
Downloads:24 View Download Statistics

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