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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

September 11, 2004: New Draft Mental Health Bill Published

The Government has published a revised draft Mental Health Bill. This Bill will have a significant impact on work with mentally disordered offenders.

It represents the biggest reform of mental health legislation since the 1950s, and will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a parliamentary committee, which will present its report by March 2005. (A draft Bill was published in 2002, and comments received on that draft have been taken into consideration).

The government argues that it will provide improved safeguards for patients and better procedures for treatment to the small minority of people with mental health problems who need to be treated against their will to prevent them from harming themselves. The government also states that it will provide a diversion from prison for non-dangerous offenders with mental health problems and provides better protection to the public from those who are deemed a risk to others, by ensuring they receive the treatment they need.

The new draft Bill has:

  • changed the definition of mental disorder to emphasise that it is the effect rather than the underlying cause which is important;
  • defined the conditions for compulsion differently, to raise the threshold for the health and safety of patients and to make clear that appropriate treatment must be available for the individual patient;
  • meant that a period of hospital assessment will normally be a prerequisite to treatment subject to sanction in the community;
  • extended the proposed functions of the Healthcare Commission;
  • allowed people to refuse Electro Convulsive Therapy if they retain mental capacity
  • increased the maximum sentence for people convicted of ill treatment or neglect of patients

According to Home Office Prisons and Probation Minister Minister Paul Goggins:

"The provisions that enable dangerous and serious offenders to be detained in hospital for mental health treatment will stay in place. The vast majority of people with mental disorders are not a risk to others, but a minority are - and the law obviously needs to recognise this. We will not compromise public safety. If we are to protect the public we must ensure that those with a mental disorder who are a risk to others receive the high quality mental health treatment they need. The Bill will help to achieve this."

"It also enables non-dangerous offenders who do not pose a risk to others to receive mental health treatment under sanction in the community. This means that the offender will receive the mental health treatment he or she needs to reduce the risk of re-offending."

National Director for Mental Health, Louis Appleby, said:

"The criteria for compulsory treatment under the Bill are carefully drafted - to make sure that only people who need compulsory treatment receive it. Mental health services will have a duty to respond to requests for assessment and patients who are treated under the Bill will have to have an individual care plan focused on their individual needs."