“A young man with PWS is arrested for taking a sandwich and soda out of an unlocked car.”
“The police are called when a young woman with PWS is caught taking a bag of candy that belongs to someone else.”
Encounters with law enforcement are particularly scary for people with PWS and their families. To help minimize these situations we recommend the following:
- Educate your local police department before a crisis happens. Visit the police in your local precinct and share with them PWS educational materials. Consider creating a one page sheet specific to your loved one including a picture and tips on what might be helpful in a crisis situation. If you have a school age child, don’t forget to include school police resource officers as well. Our Law Enforcement Statement for Adults with PWS (wallet sized card version also available) and Law Enforcement Statement for Children with PWS are great resources to share and keep on hand in your home and car.
- If an incident with law enforcement does occur, contact a crisis counselor at PWSA (USA) right away (800-926-4797) along with your local PWSA chapter. It is essential that police, public defenders, judges, and district attorneys understand as quickly as possible how PWS contributed to what appears to be an incident punishable by law. This moves the discussion from criminality to disability.
- Prader-Willi Syndrome and Theft ED