The conditions endured by mentally disordered defendants remanded in custody have been the subject of mounting concern in England. The Home Office has issued guidelines which encourage the diversion of the mentally disordered from the criminal justice system whenever possible. In an attempt to reduce the number of custodial medical remands, new schemes have been set up which target the magistrates' court, instead of the remand prison, as the site for psychiatric assessment (Joseph & Potter, 1990; James & Hamilton, 1991). These schemes are in their infancy and currently suffer from a lack of funding and have yet to find general acceptance from hospital based psychiatric services.
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