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Pathways through the criminal justice system for prisoners with acute and serious mental illness

Slade, Karen, Samele, Chiara, Valmaggia, Lucia and Forrester, Andrew 2016. Pathways through the criminal justice system for prisoners with acute and serious mental illness. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine 44 , pp. 162-168. 10.1016/j.jflm.2016.10.007

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Purpose To evaluate pathways through the criminal justice system for 63 prisoners under the care of prison mental health services. Results A small number (3%) were acutely mentally ill at prison reception, which may reflect the successful operation of liaison and diversion services at earlier stages in the pathway. However, a third (33%) went onto display acute symptoms at later stages. Cases displaying suicide risk at arrest, with a history of in-patient care, were at increased risk of acute deterioration in the first weeks of imprisonment, with a general absence of health assessments for these cases prior to their imprisonment. Inconsistencies in the transfer of mental health information to health files may result in at-risk cases being overlooked, and a lack of standardisation at the court stage results in difficulties determining onward service provision and outcomes. Conclusions Greater consistency in access to pre-prison health services in the criminal justice system is needed, especially for those with preexisting vulnerabilities, and it may have a role in preventing subsequent deterioration. A single system for health information flow across the whole pathway would be beneficial.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1752-928X
Date of Acceptance: 17 October 2016
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2021 23:46

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