Research Topic

Innovations in Forensic Care of Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities

About this Research Topic

Intellectual disability is a developmental condition that is characterized by significant deficits in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior, including conceptual, social and practical skills. Approximately 1-2% of the general population has an intellectual disability, whereas prevalence rates among forensic psychiatric patients typically vary between 3-50%. These patients also typically present high levels of comorbidity, such as substance-related disorders, autism spectrum disorders and personality pathology.

Within the past decade, there has been steady increase in the amount of research which has focused on forensic issues within the area of intellectual disability (ID), such as perspectives on risk assessment, sexual violence, comorbidity and what works in offenders with IDs.

The goal of this Research Topic is to bring together articles that challenge, develop, and move forward the knowledge and practice around working with individuals with ID or borderline intellectual functioning who receive treatment in forensic facilities. We aim to compile an overview of the new research findings and innovations on issues related to clients with intellectual disabilities or borderline intellectual functioning who reside in forensic settings. We take this opportunity to reconsider previous ‘knowns’ in the light of new evidence, innovative practices, and new conceptualizations of old problems.

Contributors to this Research Topic are welcome to present original empirical (quantitative or qualitative) studies on social, psychological, and psychiatric innovations in working with clients with intellectual disabilities or borderline intellectual functioning (i.e., generally an IQ of 70–85) who reside in forensic settings, but also meta-analyses, systematic reviews, position papers and papers on innovative theoretical frameworks. We welcome papers on youth, adults and elderly populations. Narrative reviews, case reports, case/treatment descriptions, and letters to the editors are excluded from this Research Topic.

Topics include but are not limited to:
• Research focused on the offender characteristics and associated variables
• Research on all types of violence, offending behavior and psychopathology
• Empirical studies on risk assessment and protective factors
• Epidemiological studies
• Development and effectiveness of tools, programs, interventions, therapies or treatments for offenders and staff
• Psychosocial factors contributing to or reducing the risk for offending
• Qualitative studies into the experiences of offenders and their support system
• The use of novel technological approaches


Keywords: intellectual disability, borderline intellectual functioning, innovation, treatment, assessment, forensic care, violence, psychopathology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Intellectual disability is a developmental condition that is characterized by significant deficits in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior, including conceptual, social and practical skills. Approximately 1-2% of the general population has an intellectual disability, whereas prevalence rates among forensic psychiatric patients typically vary between 3-50%. These patients also typically present high levels of comorbidity, such as substance-related disorders, autism spectrum disorders and personality pathology.

Within the past decade, there has been steady increase in the amount of research which has focused on forensic issues within the area of intellectual disability (ID), such as perspectives on risk assessment, sexual violence, comorbidity and what works in offenders with IDs.

The goal of this Research Topic is to bring together articles that challenge, develop, and move forward the knowledge and practice around working with individuals with ID or borderline intellectual functioning who receive treatment in forensic facilities. We aim to compile an overview of the new research findings and innovations on issues related to clients with intellectual disabilities or borderline intellectual functioning who reside in forensic settings. We take this opportunity to reconsider previous ‘knowns’ in the light of new evidence, innovative practices, and new conceptualizations of old problems.

Contributors to this Research Topic are welcome to present original empirical (quantitative or qualitative) studies on social, psychological, and psychiatric innovations in working with clients with intellectual disabilities or borderline intellectual functioning (i.e., generally an IQ of 70–85) who reside in forensic settings, but also meta-analyses, systematic reviews, position papers and papers on innovative theoretical frameworks. We welcome papers on youth, adults and elderly populations. Narrative reviews, case reports, case/treatment descriptions, and letters to the editors are excluded from this Research Topic.

Topics include but are not limited to:
• Research focused on the offender characteristics and associated variables
• Research on all types of violence, offending behavior and psychopathology
• Empirical studies on risk assessment and protective factors
• Epidemiological studies
• Development and effectiveness of tools, programs, interventions, therapies or treatments for offenders and staff
• Psychosocial factors contributing to or reducing the risk for offending
• Qualitative studies into the experiences of offenders and their support system
• The use of novel technological approaches


Keywords: intellectual disability, borderline intellectual functioning, innovation, treatment, assessment, forensic care, violence, psychopathology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

18 February 2021 Abstract
01 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

18 February 2021 Abstract
01 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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