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Research

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Outcomes of Custody Diversion for Violent Mentally Disordered Offenders

A research project of the School of Applied Social Sciences.

Background

Many people with a mental disorder who commit crimes do not receive the specialist help they need from health and social services and are sentenced to prison. Custody Diversion Teams were therefore set up to identify and refer mentally disordered offenders to appropriate care and treatment from the health and social services. One of these teams has been providing a service in the Cleveland area since 1995.

Aims

This research aims to find out whether people with mental disorders charged with violent crimes received the care they needed from health and social services following discharge from the Cleveland Diversion Team. We also want to know whether or not they went on to commit further violent crimes.

Methods

The research is based on a detailed analysis of agency databases. The Cleveland Diversion Team database are providing anonymous information about everyone referred to the team, including:

  • what criminal offence they had been charged with;
  • what mental health diagnosis they had been given;
  • whether the Cleveland Diversion Team interviewed them;
  • whether the Cleveland Diversion Team identified health or social care needs;
  • whether the Cleveland Diversion Team referred them to health or social services.

The experiences of different types of Cleveland Diversion Team service users, in particular violent offenders, will be described using this information.
The local health, probation and social services databases are providing anonymous information about what happened to people after they were discharged from the Cleveland Diversion Team, including:

  • whether they received care from the health or social services;
  • whether they went on to commit more criminal offences.

The different types of experience people had following discharge from the Cleveland Diversion Team, in particular those committing violent crimes, will be described using this information.
What difference the Cleveland Diversion Team made to what happened to people with a mental disorder who committed violent crimes in the longer term will be revealed by matching what happened to people before they were discharged from the Cleveland Diversion Team with what happened to people after they were discharged from the Cleveland Diversion Team.

Findings

We will be able to describe in detail the impact the Cleveland Diversion Team had on preventing people with a mental disorder who committed violent crimes from committing more violent crimes by helping them access specialist health, social care and criminal justice services. We will also identify problems of access to current services and gaps in the provision of services.

Staff

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