Mental health law and risk management

Authored by: Philip Fennell

Handbook of Forensic Mental Health

Print publication date:  March  2008
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9781843922629
eBook ISBN: 9780203118276
Adobe ISBN: 9781136308802


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This chapter and Chapter 12 explain how detention and compulsory community powers under mental health and criminal justice legislation are used in the management of risk to self and to others. This chapter begins with an analysis of the principal drivers of mental health policy in relation to mentally disordered people in general and mentally disordered offenders in particular. There is then a brief outline of the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights on psychiatric detention and compulsory treatment in the community. This is followed by an examination of the stages of the criminal justice process from arrest through to imprisonment where a mentally disordered person may be diverted from the criminal justice system to psychiatric care whether in hospital or in the community. The Mental Health Act 1983 (the 1983 Act) provides separate procedures for detaining non-offender and offender patients. Under Part 2 of the 1983 Act, non-offender patients may be detained and treated in hospital or may be subject to compulsory powers in the community. This chapter deals with Part 2 and the civil provisions for the compulsory admission and treatment. Under Part 3, mentally disordered offenders may be sentenced to a hospital order by a criminal court or transferred from prison to hospital by the Home Secretary’s warrant. Restrictions may be placed on their discharge from hospital, and offender patients may be subject to compulsory powers in the community. The provisions of Part 3 and the sentencing powers under which mentally disordered offenders may be sent to prison are dealt with in Chapter 12.

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