Recent developments in the criminal justice system (Home Office, 1990) have highlighted the need to divert the mentally disordered offender away from custody whenever practical. To this end a number of pilot schemes have been developed within the National Health Service. The West Midlands Regional Forensic Service, together with the West Midlands Probation Service Court Liaison Team recently initiated a project based in the Central Police “lock up” in Birmingham. This scheme differs from others in that defendants are screened prior to their appearance before the court (James & Hamilton, 1991; Joseph & Potter, 1990).
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