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Legal Crisis

Arrest and other Encounters with Law Enforcement

“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 potential crisis situations we recommend the following:

  • Prevention is a key step in crisis management so 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 (i.e. don’t touch). If you have a school age child, don’t forget to include school police resource officers as well.
  • Keep on hand a supply of PWSA (USA) resources posted in the “Links and Resources” section.
  • 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. Guardianship

Many parents of a child with PWS consider guardianship for their child either at 18 or later. We recommend that parents explore this option to determine whether it is an appropriate step to take. Some parents also explore using a special needs trust to plan for their child’s future. Helpful resources on both topics are posted in the “Links and Resources” section.

Links and Resources [Click here]

  edited: 02/09/2012

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