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NCJ Number: 184127 Find in a Library
Title: Disabled and Disadvantaged: The Plight of Special Patients Unfit to Stand Trial
Journal: Psychiatry, Psychology and Law  Volume:7  Issue:1  Dated:2000  Pages:97-110
Author(s): Jeremy J. Skipworth; Morag A. McDowell
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This article describes the legal, clinical, and procedural mechanisms in New Zealand by which a person can be determined to be unfit to stand trial and consequently classified as a special patient; the analysis also focuses on the outcomes for 21 such individuals in the Auckland region.
Abstract: The research emphasized the pathway of these individuals to reclassification. Results revealed that several factors compromised the rights of these individuals. These included the lack of recognition of time served as a special patient (when sentenced) and the lack of any examine of the sufficiency of the evidence against the individual. Additional factors included the absence of a right of appeal against disposition as a special patient, and the unreasonable time delay that it takes to be reclassified, resulting in infringement of liberty rights. The Criminal Justice Amendment Bill (No. 7) 1999 addresses some of the problems, but it does not deal with the issue of delay in reclassification. Keeping individuals in psychiatric hospitals when no longer clinically indicated highlights the lack of sufficient checks on behalf of these individuals. Therefore, current administrative structures and personnel need to be made aware of the true nature of their responsibilities and the impact of their action or inaction may have for these individuals. Tables and 11 reference notes (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Competency to stand trial; Criminally insane persons; Foreign laws; Foreign offenders; Human rights violations; Medical evaluation; New Zealand; Prisoner's rights
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