Prism September 2016

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THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY.
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Competency To Stand Trial: A Dilemma for Criminal Justice Professionals and Advocates

For individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, there are complexities that impede fairness within the criminal justice system. One complexity is competency to stand trial. Competency measures a defendant’s ability to understand the case against him and assist in his defense. If he is found incompetent, his criminal case cannot be continued until his competency is restored in an in-patient or outpatient restoration program. While actual statistics are scarce, research indicates that many people with disabilities, including autism, do not receive the services they need to be found competent. Instead, they linger in correctional institutions or hospitals for too long, depriving them of their right to a speedy trial. To learn more about criminal competency for individuals with, view The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice & Disability’s® latest webinar, “Competency of Individuals with I/DD in the Criminal Justice System: A Call to Action for the Criminal Justice Community.”

Three ABLE Act Amendments Introduced

Building upon the ABLE Act of 2014, three amendments were introduced in the House and Senate in March 2016, and referred to the appropriate committees of jurisdiction. Unfortunately, they have not seen any legislative progress since that time. With time running out for Congress to act this year, we can’t be complacent — we must educate ourselves and others on their significance. Here is a brief summary of each:

  • The ABLE Age Adjustment Act would raise the age limit for eligibility to before age 46.
  • The ABLE Financial Planning Act would allow tax-free rollovers between a 529 college savings account and an ABLE account.
  • The ABLE to Work Act would allow individuals to exceed the annual contribution limit and save more money in an ABLE account if the individual earns income.

For more information, see The Arc’s fact sheet, and stay informed by signing up for the Disability Advocacy Network.

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Recommend this content Prism September 2016

Date posted: January 3, 2017. Content created by The Autism NOW Center. Last updated: January 3, 2017.

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