To examine the activity of the East Sussex Court Assessment and Diversion Scheme and to investigate its diagnostic formulations, recommendations and the short-term outcome of individuals referred, using a retrospective analysis of data collected over 3 years during the everyday clinical duties of scheme members.
Diversion was recommended for 858 individuals from a total of 1830 referrals. Most were referred to community services, but 131 were admitted to hospital, the majority under compulsion. The number of individuals admitted to secure hospitals has increased, and delays in admitting them have lengthened. The ethnic minority population was over-represented in referrals.
Court liaison and diversion in East Sussex successfully directs defendants with mental disorders to appropriate resources, both general and specialist, in-patient and community. The expansion of in-patient secure services needs to continue to accommodate increased demand. Reasons why ethnic minorities are over-represented in referrals require further study.
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