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Offenders: Mental illness

Justice written question – answered on 18th January 2011.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he plans to take to reduce the number of offender cases referred to mental health services; and what support he plans to offer to young offenders who are unable to access an appropriate mental health service.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

I understand the hon. Member's question to refer to an increase in the number of offender cases referred to mental health services.

The Government are committed to diverting mentally ill offenders from the criminal justice system where appropriate and increasing access to mental health services. In particular proposals about the NHS making available mental health liaison and diversion services at police stations and courts by 2014, for young and adult offenders, are set out in "Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders" published by the Ministry of Justice in December 2010.

The cross-Government Mental Health Strategy, due to be launched by the Department of Health on 24 January 2011, aims to improve mental health outcomes for people of all ages, including offenders. It will take a life course approach and prioritise early intervention.

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