Imprisoning the Mentally Disordered: A Manifest Injustice?
33 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 10, 2014
The paper considers the nature and extent of mental disorder, amongst those who have been justly convicted, within prisons in England and Wales. These levels of disorder, and of serious disorder, are broadly consistent with the international literature. The implications of the presence of so many mentally disordered offenders for the established purposes of imprisonment are explored. Issues of accessing appropriate treatment are reviewed. A number of remedies are discussed, including those of interventions which would significantly reduce the prison population per se. The paper concludes that whilst for many mentally disordered offenders imprisonment is the right and proper disposal, for others it is an injustice that they are detained in conditions that may exacerbate their disorders, and for some others their presence in the prison population is a manifest injustice. The paper calls for a fundamental review of the purposes of imprisonment for all offenders, in the light of these observations about mentally disordered offenders.
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