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The characteristics and treatment needs of fire setters with intellectual disability: descriptive data and comparisons between offence type
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour  (IF),  Pub Date : 2019-11-28, DOI: 10.1108/jidob-10-2016-0019
Ashlee Curtis, Keith R. McVilly, Andrew Day, William R. Lindsay, John L. Taylor, Todd E. Hogue

Purpose: Fire setters who have an intellectual disability (ID) are often identified as posing a particular danger to the community although relatively little is known about their characteristics, treatment, and support needs. Methodology: This study describes the characteristics of 134 residents of low, medium, and high security ID facilities in the United Kingdom who have either an index offence of arson, comparing them with those who have a violentn index offence, involving either violent or a sexual indexal offenceding. Findings: Index arson offenders who had an ID had multiple prior convictions, a history of violent offending, and a high likelihood of having a comorbid mental disorder. There were many shared characteristics across the three groups. Practical implications: The current study suggests that offenders who have ID who set fires have treatment needs that are similar to those of violent and sex offenders. It follows that fire setters who have an ID may also benefit from participating in more established offending behaviour treatment programs, such as cognitive behaviour therapy programs, developed for other types of offender. Originality: This study is one of the few which has investigated the characteristics and treatment needs of persons who have an ID who set fires. In particular, it is one of the first to compare the characteristics and treatment needs for persons with ID who set fires, to those who have committed violent and sexual offences.