The structure of forensic psychiatric services

A range of specialized forensic units have developed in many countries, to meet the needs of the wide and complex variety of patients who require specialist services incorporating differing levels of security combined with skilled therapeutic management. The organization of a service will often and perhaps, ideally, include one or more of these in an integrated and managed system which will facilitate movement appropriately between modules within the system as security and therapeutic needs change, and also link with general services and the community.

The units comprising a comprehensive service will include:

• specialized units within prisons

• high-security hospital units

• medium-secure units

• local district psychiatric services

• specialized community forensic services

• specialist services for particular groups.

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