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Diversion from custody: An update

  • Luke Birmingham, Olusola Awonogun and Howard Ryland
Summary

Liaison and diversion services are concerned with ensuring that individuals with mental health problems and related vulnerabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system receive appropriate support and treatment. In the past 15 years there have been significant changes in policy, legislation and the broader landscape in community, custodial and hospital settings which have shaped these services. The Bradley Report, published in 2009, represents an important landmark in this field. Bradley made 82 recommendations, from interventions to improve identification of mental illness and vulnerable individuals at risk of offending to effecting speedier transfers of mentally disordered prisoners to hospital. Some progress has been made in achieving these recommendations, and further investment is promised, but at present only half of England is covered by liaison and diversion services.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Appreciate how services have developed over the past 15 years to provide support and treatment and divert mentally disordered people from custody at all stages in the criminal justice process

Recognise how government policy has shaped the development of liaison and diversion services over the past 15 years

Understand the impact of the 2007 amendments to the Mental Health Act on the diversion of mentally disordered people from custody

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Luke Birmingham, Southfield Low Secure Unit, Tatchbury Mount, Calmore, Southampton SO40 2RZ, UK. Email Luke.Birmingham@southernhealth.nhs.uk
Footnotes
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a.

UK public services use the term ‘learning disability’ to refer to intellectual disability, so we follow that usage in our article.

Declaration of Interest

At the time of writing, H.R. was the trainee editor of BJPsych Advances. He was not involved in the peer review or acceptance of this article for publication.

Footnotes
References
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 2056-4678
  • EISSN: 2056-4686
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Diversion from custody: An update

  • Luke Birmingham, Olusola Awonogun and Howard Ryland
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