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VIOLENT CRIME TARGETED BY MENTAL HEALTH TEAM

August 27 2007 at 9:02 PM
 

VIOLENT CRIME TARGETED BY MENTAL HEALTH TEAM

 

http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=156582&command=displayContent&sourceNode=156408&contentPK=18212546&folderPk=87028&pNodeId=156139


08:00 - 27 August 2007


Mental health patients are to attend special sessions aimed at preventing them from committing crimes.

Around 500 violent crimes are carried out by people with mental health problems in Lincolnshire each year.

Specialists in the new Community Forensic Service will use medicine, psychological therapies and occupational therapy to help people with such problems understand why they are more likely to commit crime and how to avoid doing it.

An estimated one in 20 violent crimes are committed by people with mental health problems.

Mentally ill Matthew Steel, of Scorer Street, Lincoln, was living on his own in the community before stabbing to death 35-year-old Phillip Beardmore at his home in Walnut Place, Lincoln.

There was increasing alarm about his previous behaviour, according to the report - published in 2003.

Despite being diagnosed as having a dangerous personality disorder, health experts and social workers could not legally detain him because he had not been officially classified as mentally ill.

Steel is now serving a life sentence after his conviction on December 22, 2000, at Lincoln Crown Court.

The new team, set up by the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Trust will work alongside Community Mental Health Teams, Prison In-Reach, Psychological Therapy Services, Social Services, Substance Misuse Services and the Probation Service.

The team members will also liaise closely with the courts and the police.

For the full story see Monday's Echo.

 
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Anonymous

Planned control orders raise judges' fears for civil liberties

August 28 2007, 10:11 AM 

Planned control orders raise judges' fears for civil liberties

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,2157378,00.html

Alan Travis and Clare Dyer
Tuesday August 28, 2007
The Guardian


Senior judges have warned ministers they risk a re-run of their clash with the courts over control orders by introducing new proposals that will place "massive restrictions" on certain convicted violent offenders after they have left prison.

The Council of HM Circuit Judges has told ministers that the proposal to introduce a violent offender order - similar to sex offender orders but which apply to violent offenders after they have served their sentences - lacks any intellectual rigour and is based on hardly any reasoned argument or analysis.

The orders, which are expected to apply to 300 to 450 offenders a year including teenagers as young as 16, are a cornerstone of the latest criminal justice and immigration bill, which MPs will debate on the day parliament returns in the autumn.

The orders will allow the police to apply to a magistrates court to impose a series of bans and requirements on offenders convicted of serious violent offences and who are believed to remain a danger to the public after they finish their prison terms. The orders will remain in force for a minimum of two years with no statutory maximum and will carry a penalty of up to five years imprisonment if breached.

The possible conditions include banning somebody from having contact with members of their own family if there is a risk of violence, and living in certain areas where victims or known criminal associates reside.

Ministers have also considered making it possible for the orders to include compulsory mental health treatment and attendance of drug or alcohol rehabilitation courses with the penalty of prison for those who fail to comply.

The proposed violent offender orders consider options to cover a range of risk factors: offenders could be banned from entering specific roads or areas such as a town centre where drunken disorder is a problem; people convicted of violence to be made subject to sex offender-style restrictions requiring regular reporting to police to inform of their movements, travel abroad and any development in personal relationships; and individuals could be banned from membership of specified groups and possession of material promoting extremist views.

The judges have privately told ministers that they are unhappy with the thrust of the proposal. They say the range of conditions to be imposed highlights all the problems inherent in the violent offender orders.

"The implications of these orders are that they will place massive restrictions on the liberty, movement, freedom of association and lifestyle of individuals who are not being sentenced for any offence," said Judge David Swift, chairman of the council's criminal subcommittee.

"The orders are said to be purely preventative. The problems of proportionality that have been thrown up by control orders are once again revealed here and do not need rehearsal."

The judges say they do not think the police by themselves should be allowed to apply for such sweeping orders and that professional full-time judges rather than magistrates should decide who they are imposed upon. They are also concerned that no provision appears to have been made to allow for legal representation.

The Ministry of Justice defended the orders saying they are needed to manage the risk posed by offenders still considered potentially violent when they leave prison but who were not awarded an "open-ended" public protection sentence.




 
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Ministers considered making it possible for the orders to include compulsory mental treatm

August 28 2007, 10:12 AM 

Ministers have also considered making it possible for the orders to include compulsory mental health treatment and attendance of drug or alcohol rehabilitation courses with the penalty of prison for those who fail to comply.


 
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