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Asperger's Syndrome and Jail: A Survival Guide

by Will Attwood Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Pub Date:
Pbk 304 pages
AU$44.99 NZ$47.82
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Will Attwood was finishing a three-year sentence in prison when he was formally diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome for the first time. After his diagnosis he recognised just how much it had been affecting his life behind bars.


This book is a practical advice guide for people with autism who have been sentenced to time in prison. Will shares his first-hand knowledge of what to expect and how to behave within the penal system. He sheds light on topics that are important for people with autism, answering questions such as: How should you act with inmates and guards? How do you avoid trouble? What about a prison's environmental stimuli may cause you anxiety?


His thoughtful, measured writing debunks rumours about daily life in prison, and the useful tips and observations he offers will help anyone with autism prepare for the realities of spending time incarcerated, and be enormously helpful to those working with offenders on the autism spectrum.
"Will is my hero in terms of how he has coped with having Asperger’s syndrome. He has many talents that includes being an engaging and informative author, with a sense of humour and compassion. As a father, the incidents he endured in prison are heart breaking, but he is determined that those who share his diagnosis will learn from his survival guide to prison life. His perspective will also be of considerable value to those whose career is in the corrective and custodial system". Tony Attwood.


"Will Attwood’s drug addiction took him on a path to destruction and, along with so many drug addicts before him, he has done time in jail. But not every drug addict has undiagnosed autism. His difficulty understanding the world around him was doubly hard in jail where the slightest wrong glance or off-the-cuff comment could have significant repercussions. Once Will’s diagnosis was revealed (while he was still in prison) he was able to see life in a way that finally made sense.


‘Asperger’s Syndrome and Jail’ is brilliant. It is designed to help those on the autism spectrum have a better idea about what to face in jail. However, the insight and advice he gives would help anyone, inmate, and family alike, with or without autism, to navigate the jail sentence. In clear, easy to read bites, he demystifies Hollywood hyperbole about life inside, and replaces it with something manageable and humane. Completely free from judgement or exaggeration, he gives solid facts about the dos and don’ts, the rights and limitations, and the positives (yes, there are some) and negatives of incarceration


I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is certainly a book that must be read by anyone involved with the jail process. However, even those who have nothing to do with jail in any way, will come away with a huge empathy for those who are jailed, and a realization that ‘those criminals’ are simply people with needs and wants and fears like everyone else. A truly excellent book on so many levels." - Kathy Hoopmann, author of fifteen books for children and teenagers including bestselling All Cats have Aspergers.


Smart, thoughtful and with a strong sense of social justice, Will Attwood spent the first 31 years of his life wondering why he felt ‘different’, and struggled with intense, chronic anxiety.
He discovered, in his teens, that drugs (including alcohol) could significantly ease his social angst.
While alcohol and drugs played a key role in Will’s life, it didn’t stop him from excelling at high school, and going on to attain a Bachelor of Media Communication/Journalism from the Queensland University of Technology.
However, a life-changing brush with testicular cancer at 23 tragically altered his world view and led him down the path to all-consuming addiction.
It wasn’t long before he found himself in front of a judge, who sentenced him to three years jail for robbery.
While serving his sentence, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and everything fell into place – the anxiety, the drug/alcohol use and the ever-present feeling of being out of step with society.
It was at this point he decided he would write a book to help other people navigate the social mine field that is jail.