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and Crime

This important book focuses specifically on the relationship between dyslexia, neurodiversity, and the criminal justice system.

Neil takes us on a step-by-step journey, allowing us to understand where there are key points in a young person's life that can lead to moving away from a more positive path, and why someone could end up on the school-to-prison pipeline.

Neil in this comprehensive book considers these different and often complex routes into crime in an erudite manner and considers importantly how we could potentially change the trajectory. Read it slowly. Read it again and think about what we can do as a society to make lasting change.

This book should be read by politicians, those working in education, social work, police, law, prison and probation, and anyone interested in being a part of the change required to stop this tragic and preventable train of events for this generation, and future generations.


Professor Amanda Kirby

Honorary Professor

Cardiff University

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This book is a journey and uncovers many recent research studies that highlight that half the prison population have a reading age below 11 years old, however have been through school and the justice system without their learning difficulties being identified. The book questions a school system that have failed them, along with the likely unfair trials that have taken place, leading many to prison. The use of early plea bargaining to accept a ‘guilty plea’ mean that many sign away their rights without fully understanding the implications of their choice.


This book also highlights that prison breaches equality legislation at an institutional level through many published reports, being highly application form based and does not allow accessibility choices.

The timely nature of this book does not go unnoticed. Neil writes as young people are picking themselves up after a global pandemic, where there is a tangible and very palpable cost of living crisis ripping through the country, and real-terms cuts in funding to support children with special educational needs and/or disabilities in schools are decimating the fabric of extant support. This book tackles the effects of insecure home-lives, lack of support in school and the potential journeys that young people can take as a result.

However, as is so clearly and eruditely demonstrated by Neil in this book, professionals along the pathway do not (or cannot) take holistic views of young people in their charge. In school, lack of resources (both time and training) mean that young people’s dyslexia are highly unlikely to be identified.

This book is a call to arms. For those working in school with young people, for those working in social care, for those associated with the criminal justice system and to the curators of those fields in government who set policy, allocate resources, and create the structures which could facilitate pathways away from prison for young people with dyslexia and literacy difficulties.


Dr Helen Ross

Consultant & Researcher, Expert SEN & Dyslexia Advisor

Co-Vice Chair, British Dyslexia Association

In his latest book, Dyslexia, Neurodiversity and prison: investigating the school to prison pipeline, the author Neil Alexander-Passe provides a fascinating insight into a system that seems designed to discriminate against those with dyslexia, autism and neurodiversity. Outlining the constraints in the legal process which place poor readers at a substantial disadvantage in understanding the full implications of even 'adopting a plea bargain', the author presents an authoritative analysis of failures in the system, richly illustrated with up-to-date official reports and qualitative data from the offenders themselves, which suggest many offenders may even be innocent of the charges they face. This book is unique in taking the reader through the complexities of the system, identifying risk factors not only for failure, but also for recidivism. 

Overall, Neil Alexander-Passe paints a sad and gloomy picture of a continuing lack of opportunity within the UK system, with a number of simple solutions to address this, in an important book that is a 'must read' for anyone with an interest in the area of literacy. I cannot recommend this book too strongly!


Professor Angela Fawcett, Emeritus Professor

University of Swansea

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Dr Alexander-Passe, based in London (UK), is a well-respected author investigating emotional coping in those with dyslexia. He is the Assistant Head/Head of Learning Support at a leading prep school on the edge of London, and an expert special educational needs advisor. He is dyslexic himself, so writes from both professional and personal experience.

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