Non-custodial sentences and mentally disordered offenders

Authored by: Danny Clark

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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Many MDOs (mentally disordered offenders) processed by the courts receive prison sentences. However, a second much larger group are given a community sentence by the courts when convicted. MDOs serving community sentences are a neglected group in the literature compared with those who are imprisoned. Prisoners are perceived as more serious offenders and considered to have greater needs in terms of resettlement difficulties (e.g. access to accommodation, healthcare, benefits and maintaining relationships, etc.). It is assumed that serving a community sentence does not alter offenders’ circumstances because they remain at liberty to receive treatment from mental health service providers. This chapter will try to redress the balance and focus on this group, outlining the process of supervision in the community, how they are dealt with by the Probation Service and other agencies, and describing how mental health issues might impinge on other aspects of the sentence.

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