Deaf Offenders with Mental Health Needs
There are approximately 10 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the United Kingdom, of whom 3.7 million are of working age.1 Deafness is more than an audiological measurement that defines an individual’s degree of hearing loss. Deaf people form a heterogeneous group, and the age of onset of their deafness and degree of hearing impairment have a significant effect upon the individual’s communication preference and cultural identity.2 Those who become deaf in early childhood, before the development of full spoken language (prelingual deafness), are more likely to use sign language such as British Sign Language (BSL), and belong to the Deaf * community and share its associated values and belief system. They are proud to be Deaf and share a unique set of defining life experiences with other members of the Deaf community. In the United Kingdom, 800,000 people are either severely or profoundly deaf, of which approximately 70,000 are BSL users.1 These individuals are probably most likely to refer to themselves as being Deaf.