Diversion, Europeanization and the Mentally Disordered Offender
PHIL FENNELL AND FRANS KOENRAADT
In recent years diversion policies for mentally disordered offenders have been adopted with particular fervour in England and Wales. They rest on three principles: (1) that special safeguards are necessary governing questioning of mentally disordered suspects in the police station and their confession evidence, since they may be especially liable to make false admissions;1 (2) that mentally disordered suspects and offenders should be diverted away from the penal system and into the health and social care system; (3) that, once in the psychiatric system, patients are entitled to be cared for in the least restrictive setting commensurate with the need to protect the public.2 However, the gulf between policy and practice remains wide because, although a legal framework for diversion has existed since 1959 and since 1984 for the protection of vulnerable suspects in the police station, it was not until 1990 that Circular 66/90 on the Diversion of Mentally Disordered Offenders from Custody was issued following renewed expressions of concern about the high numbers of mentally disordered prison inmates and the increasing numbers of suicides in prisons.3
In the Netherlands, which has a reputation as a model for humanitarian forensic psychiatric practice, the demand for forensic psychiatric assessment has decreased in recent years, reflecting concerns to limit the psychiatrization of criminal justice, lack of faith in the efficacy of psychiatric treatment, and an increasing belief that the TBS regime for dangerous mentally____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Criminal Justice in Europe:A Comparative Study. Contributors: Phil Fennell - Editor, Christopher Harding - Editor, Nico Jörg - Editor, Bert Swart - Editor. Publisher: Clarendon Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 171.