Ensure Civil Rights
& Justice
for all Texans With IDD

The Arc of Texas 2021 Public Policy Priorities

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Background
When Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have equitable access to justice and services within the community, they are less likely to become victims of abuse and crime and more likely to civically participate in their community.
Texans with IDD are more likely than those without to be involved in the criminal justice system.

Research shows they are 10 times more likely to become a victim of crime and 2.5 times more likely to be a victim of a violent crime. They are also 7 times more likely to be a victim of sexual assault.

Criminal justice professionals lack training about IDD.

This prevents individuals with IDD from receiving equitable access to justice.

Texans with IDD frequently move through the criminal justice system without their disability being identified or supported.

This is true either while seeking services as a victim or an alleged offender.

People with IDD represent roughly 10% of the jail and prison population.

This is despite comprising up to 3% of the total U.S. population.

Texans with IDD face unnecessary obstacles when exercising their right to vote.

These include the ability to register to vote, apply for absentee ballots, and transport themselves to polling locations that are both accessible and accommodating.

People with IDD experience higher rates of mental health conditions than the general population.

And while people with IDD are more likely to have a co-occurring mental health condition, they often do not have access to appropriate mental healthcare.

Legislative Solutions
Provide accommodations Texans with IDD need to fully participate in their own legal proceedings.

This includes access to a supported decision making agreement and a supporter to interpret.

Define intellectual and developmental disabilities appropriately and accurately.

This will eliminate unwarranted executions and bring Texas into compliance with federal law.

Promote accurate identification of Texans with IDD entering the criminal justice system.

Support proper administration of jail screening forms and prompt distribution of data to Texas Health and Human Services.

Uphold existing voting rights for Texans with IDD.

Ensure the ability to vote privately and independently through access, accommodations, and support.