News

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon. David Gauke MP, set out in a speech delivered last week (Thursday 21 June 2018) how the government is improving outcomes for people with mental health problems and other needs caught up in the criminal justice system.

Speaking at the 2018 reception of the Care not Custody Coalition he set out the significant progress made since the inception of the Coalition in 2011.

Liaison and diversion services, which place clinical staff in police stations and criminal courts to identify people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and other needs, are now available across 83% of England, with 90% coverage expected by March 2019 and full roll out by 2020/21.

Work is also being undertaken by the Ministry of Justice and Department of Health to ensure greater use of the Community Sentence Treatment Requirement (CSTR), including the Mental Health Treatment Requirement (MHTR). Five trial sites are testing a CSTR protocol, which will be evaluated later this year.

Despite the high numbers of people in the criminal justice system with mental health conditions, the MHTR is rarely used—accounting for fewer than 0.1% of all Community Orders made. Research published by the Ministry of Justice last month showed that people with a mental illness, who were given a MHTR had significant reductions in reoffending compared with similar cases where they were not.

The Care not Custody Coalition is a partnership between the National Federation of Women’s Institutes and the Prison Reform Trust. It represents an alliance of 38 organisations and professional bodies which show the breadth of support that there is for the development of effective liaison and diversion arrangements and improved outcomes for people with mental health conditions, learning disabilities, autism and other needs in the criminal justice system.

The event also marked to 10th anniversary of the resolution by the WI, which called for an end to the inappropriate detention of people who are mentally ill in the criminal justice system.

Click here to download a copy of the Care not Custody Coalition briefing.
Click here to download a copy of David Gauke’s speech.
Click here to view a short film clip about the Northamptonshire women’s CSTR trial site.