This study examined the prevalence and correlates of involvement in the criminal justice system among a nationally representative sample of youth with autism. We examined whether youth had been stopped and questioned by police or arrested at 14-15 years old and 21-22 years old. By age 21, approximately 20% of youth with autism had been stopped and questioned by police and nearly 5% had been arrested. Female youth were less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system, whereas youth displaying externalizing behaviors were more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system. Further research is needed to investigate factors associated with involvement in the criminal justice system among youth with autism and to implement prevention strategies.
Keywords: Autism; Autism spectrum disorder; Criminal justice involvement; Prevalence; Risk factors; Transition-age youth.