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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 164478 Find in a Library
Title: Diversion Versus Liaison: Psychiatric Services to the Courts, Wellington, New Zealand
Journal: Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health  Volume:6  Issue:2  Dated:(1996)  Pages:167-176
Author(s): P Brinded; F Malcolm; N Fairley; B Doyle
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study examines Wellington, New Zealand's Court Liaison Service, from December 1992 to December 1993.
Abstract: The court liaison system for the Wellington Regional Forensic Psychiatry Service operates every day that the district court is sitting. The court liaison nurse is present for the morning session and is available to the court through a paging system in the afternoons, if not actually present in court. The service is also available via pager to the High Court and to the youth court. The nurse receives referrals from the police, who will ask for a psychiatric assessment to be done in the court's holding cells if persons awaiting a court appearance appear mentally disturbed. Referrals may also come from concerned lawyers who cannot get adequate instructions from their clients owing to mental illness and also directly from the presiding judge, who will stand down proceedings so that an assessment can be done if a defendant's manner or behavior suggests the possibility of a psychiatric disorder. Once the assessment is completed, a brief written report is forwarded to the referrer, and appropriate action is taken by the court liaison nurse. The authors describe the first year of operation of the service and then discuss some of the significant issues in providing such a service, with particular reference to the concept of diversion of mentally ill offenders. The concept of liaison between the courts and regional forensic psychiatric services is discussed. The study concludes that the current court liaison services in New Zealand combine the best aspects of diversion and liaison schemes. 15 references
Main Term(s): Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Diversion programs; Interagency cooperation; Mental health services; Mentally ill offenders; New Zealand
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