Forensic services

People whose psychiatric disorders bring them into conflict with the law have particular sets of needs that must be considered in any comprehensive service system, whether provided under the auspices of the mental health authority or under the auspices of the courts or police authority. Services are needed at several different levels: evaluation of people who have been arrested and charged with an offence and are suspected of being mentally ill, provision of care and treatment for those who are found to be mentally ill and who need to be maintained in a secure setting, and addressing the needs of those who are known to be mentally ill but come into the correctional system after having committed an offence, possibly of a relatively trivial nature. Increasingly, correctional institutions are housing large numbers of mentally ill people because of what appears to be the failure of the mental health services to meet their needs. Diversion programmes, community correctional programmes, probation and parole mechanisms, and other initiatives can be used to move their care to settings where their needs can be better met. The organization of forensic psychiatry services is considered further in Chapter.II.9.

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