first mental health courts were officially launched by Justice Secretary
Jack Straw this month.
pilot mental health courts have been operating since January at
magistrates' courts in Brighton and Stratford, London.
aim to ensure a defendant’s mental health or learning disability
is given appropriate multi-agency consideration before sentencing.
specialist courts are more extensive than existing pre-sentence
psychiatric reports, says the government.
mental health nurse, who screens defendants for mental health problems,
is responsible for co-ordinating pre-sentence multi-agency reports.
is hoped the courts will lead to offenders being provided with better
mental health care, as well as reduce offending.
April Lord Bradley published a review
of mental health services across the criminal justice system.
mental health courts are each expected to deal with 350 cases per
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