Magazine article Public Finance

Community Orders Neglect Mental Health

Magazine article Public Finance

Community Orders Neglect Mental Health

Article excerpt

The courts are failing to ensure that people sentenced to community orders receive the mental health treatment they need, the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health has warned.

Community orders - the alternative to custodial sentences - impose requirements on offenders that can include curfews, drug rehabilitation, mental health treatment, and other activities such as training.

But Sainsbury Centre research found that only 725 ofthe 120,000 community orders issued in 2006 less than 1% - included a mental health treatment requirement compared with 11,000 that required drug treatment

The research also found wide regional variations. In London, 201 mental health treatment requirements were included in orders in 2006, compared with two each in Northamptonshire and North Yorkshire.

Sainsbury Centre head of policy Linda Seymour said: 'It is estimated that half the people on community orders have at least one mental health problem. …

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