Diverting mentally ill women away from prison in New South Wales : building on the existing system

Walsh, Tamara (2003) Diverting mentally ill women away from prison in New South Wales : building on the existing system. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 10(1), pp. 227-238.

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Women in prison suffer from mental illness at a rate significantly higher than their male counterparts. Many avenues for diversion exist in current New South Wales (NSW) law, but judges and magistrates have demonstrated a reluctance to utilise them. This article outlines the diversionary mechanisms available to female mentally ill offenders and speculates on why they are under-utilised. Some recommendations for reform will be made, including the use of imprisonment as a last resort, creative use of probation, bonds and conditional release orders, and the expansion of the existing court liaison service. However, it will be concluded that the availability of community-based services to which judges and magistrates may refer offenders is central to the effective operation of this area of law. Since judges and magistrates will not release mentally ill offenders into a “void”, adequately funded social services must be available to provide necessary support, treatment and supervision.

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ID Code: 18851
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1375/pplt.2003.10.1.227
ISSN: 1321-8719
Deposited On: 18 Mar 2009 02:18
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2009 02:18

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