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“It’s very easy for a person with learning disabilities and mental health issues to make a mistake and it be turned into a criminal offence.”
The story of people with learning disabilities and/or autism who are in the criminal justice system is often told in figures. It is estimated that around 7% of adults locked up in prisons have a learning disability, compared to around 2% of the general population; they are seven times more likely to come into contact with the police; and they account for just under a third of young people in custody.
Out of the Shadows offers a very different view: the human cost of locking up people with learning disabilities and/or autism. Polly Braden’s intimate and powerful photographs, seven in-depth stories written by Sally Williams and three first-hand accounts provide a valuable insight into how they ended up in prison and what happened to them.
Polly Braden’s last book and national exhibition project Great Interactions captured images and stories of the everyday lives of people with autism and learning disabilities in educational and care settings. Following on from this Polly wanted to explore what could happen to individuals with similar issues who were not receiving the appropriate level of support. This led to a collaboration with the West Bromwich based arts organisation, Multistory, who commissioned the work in the book as well as an accompanying exhibition produced in partnership with Midlands Arts Centre.
Out of the Shadows is published in association with Multistory, which has developed ambitious projects for and about its local community by commissioning new work from many outstanding photographers, artists, writers, and film-makers. The Multistory Collection is a growing body of work produced since 2010, which includes works by Martin Parr, Margaret Drabble, Susan Meiselas, David Goldblatt, Mahtab Hussain, Liz Hingley and many more. It includes photographic images, stories, film, interviews with artists and oral histories from participants. The collection has been archived and digitized to make it easily accessible.
Softback, double flap cover
128 pages, 260mm x 200mm
80 colour photographs
OUT OF THE SHADOWS was exhibited at MAC (Midlands Arts Centre), from September to November 2018