Autism and Criminal Justice in Virginia: A Law Attempts To Make Things Better

Mental health is something that has been a major topic of discussion during the past few years. There used to be a significant stigma surrounding mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Now, this is largely something is fading Into the rearview mirror. A lot of research has been done regarding mental health illnesses. As a result, there are new diagnostic and treatment options available for conditions that previously did not have any options available. It appears that the criminal justice system in Virginia is starting to pay attention to the impacts of mental health when it comes to defendants.

People with severe mental health issue issues often have trouble controlling their actions. Even though this does not necessarily mean they are innocent, it is something that is often considered at sentencing in the past, certain mental health illnesses, such as autism, we’re not considered carefully during the sentencing phase. Now, it appears that a law in Virginia is going to change that.

There are numerous defendants who have been hurt by this lack of consideration at sentencing. This includes everything from someone who was involved in a motor vehicle accident, leading to serious injuries, to individuals who are convicted of offenses related to sexual assault. This type of record can make it hard for someone to find employment, which only creates another barrier for those who are already facing an uphill battle due to mental health issues.

Now, there is a new law that has been passed that will ask judges to consider someone’s mental health issues, including autism, when they are evaluating sentencing, setting bail, and considering other factors. This law is also going to repeal a specific law that bans certain mental health conditions and disabilities from being considered. It is clear that Virginia did not adequately why someone’s mental health when they were trying to make decisions. This law is an attempt to rectify it.

This is only one of the many areas where people with mental health issues have struggled for a long time. Even though this is not fix everything, it does go a long way toward creating a better situation for people who are suffering from mental health issues.