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Mentally Disordered Offenders

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Touhig Lord Touhig Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to introduce psychiatric alternatives to prison, and other forms of sentences, for persons who have committed a crime because of their mental health condition; and if so, how.

Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice)

Liaison & Diversion services place clinical staff at police stations and courts to provide assessments and referrals to treatment and support. They are currently operating across 90% of England, with full roll out expected by 2020-21. For cases of severe mental illness, the Mental Health Act 1983 provides powers to divert an individual to hospital during the trial or at the point of sentencing. The Government commissioned an independent review of the Mental Health Act and welcomes the review’s findings (reported on 6 December 2018), to which we will respond in due course. Jointly with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England, we have developed a Community Sentence Treatment Requirement ‘Protocol’ to improve access to mental health and substance misuse services for offenders who need them. NHS England’s Long Term Plan, published on 7 January 2019, includes a commitment to expand current provision of the CSTR programme.

Sentencing decisions are a matter for our independent judiciary. The Government welcomes the independent Sentencing Council’s intention to develop an Overarching Principles: Mental Health Guideline and the Crown Prosecution Service public consultation (launched on 12 March) on revisions to guidance on the prosecution of individuals with mental health conditions or disorders.

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