U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Retarded Offender - A New Perspective

NCJ Number
J A Lomastro
Date Published
260 pages
This study of retarded adult offenders develops a model for examining the relationship of retardation to criminal activity; the study finds a need to revamp current policies of the criminal justice system to deal effectively with the special needs of retarded offenders.
A review of the literature about retarded offenders provides background for the study. Since the study focuses on functional capacity rather than on intellectual capacity, retarded offenders are categorized according to functional capacity. Functional capacity is represented by an individual's score on the Adaptive Behavior Scale. A model was developed consisting of six clusters of variables. The sample was composed of 109 subjects, 65 identified as retarded and 44 as nonretarded. The sample was differentiated into functional capacity groups: the RL groups (those labeled as retarded annd scoring low on functional capacity), the RH groups (those labeled as retarded and scoring relatively high on functional capacity), and the NR group (those identified as nonretarded and high on functional capacity). Analysis indicates that there is a direct relationship between the seriousness of criminal involvement and the level of functional capacity. The RL group accounts for most of the serious criminal involvement; these individuals are incarcerated at an earlier age, spend more time in correctional institutions, and receive more disciplinary reports. Analysis also indicates that retarded offenders exhibit more serious impairments in their functional capacity than earlier nonretarded counterparts. The analysis demonstrates that the retarded offender group is not homogeneous; rather, it is composed of at least two distinct groups which require differential types of treatment inputs. The findings have implications for the development of diversionary mechanisms for the adult retarded individuals in the criminal justice system. Tables, diagrams, and approximately 95 references are provided.