Mental Health Treatment Requirement can address Offending
- 03 Jan
A new report shows that Mental Health Treatment Requirement (MHTR) can address a root cause of offending behaviour.
A new report released today by the Centre for Mental Health and the Criminal Justice Alliance show how if the treatment for mental health is enforced in community sentences, it will improve people's mental health and in turn reduce reoffending.
This will only happen if the requirement is used by sentencers, with the right support from health services, say Centre for Mental Health and the Criminal Justice Alliance.
While 39% of offenders in the probation caseload have a mental health condition, there has been a surprisingly low uptake of the MHTR to date. According to a new report released by the two organisations today, The Mental Health Treatment Requirement, the MHTR is used in fewer than 1% of all Community Sentences. Yet for people who are given the requirement it can be a valuable source of support to bring their life 'from chaos to stability'.
Today's changes to the legal framework for the MHTR include widening the range of health professionals who can assess a person's mental health needs, and giving the courts greater flexibility in responding to breach of a Community Order. These changes, the report suggests, will remove some of the barriers to greater use of the MHTR.
However the report also warns that the proposed changes to the community sentencing in the Crime and Courts Bill, specifically the proposal for all Community Orders to contain a 'punitive element' may mean that the emphasis in sentencing will no longer focus on addressing root causes of offending and the MHTR will remain underused.
The report makes a number of further recommendations, including that training and information on mental health and the MHTR should be made available to criminal justice staff. And health professionals should also be given more information on the MHTR and their role in delivering it.
Sean Duggan, chief executive of Centre for Mental Health said:
We hope that increasing the flexibility of the MHTR will mean that it is used more by sentencers and we welcome these changes. The evidence shows that, used appropriately, the MHTR can have a real impact on engaging offenders in mental health treatment, which greatly improves their chances of turning away from offending behaviour.
However we are extremely concerned about the inclusion of a mandatory punitive element in the Community Order. For a person with a mental health condition or learning disability, and especially someone with complex needs, a focus on punishment instead of rehabilitation can 'set them up to fail,' as they may find it difficult or even impossible to comply with some of the conditions without adequate support.
Ultimately this approach will do little to reduce reoffending or to make our communities safer.
Vicki Helyar-Cardwell, Director of the Criminal Justice Alliance said:
The government's impact assessment, published alongside the community penalty proposals, admits that punitive elements could displace rehabilitative ones such as mental health treatment or alcohol treatment, which may undermine efforts to reducing reoffending.
As the Bill comes before the House of Lords next week, we urge peers to ensure the Courts can prioritise the most effective sentence for people with mental health problems.
Source: Centre For Mental Health
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/747910
- 11 Sep
Prisons told to adjust for older inmates
Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen says prisons will have to take on "care home and even hospice" roles in future, reports the BBC. He said: "It is remarkable that the fastest growing segment of the prison...
- 31 Jul
Charities are best at reducing re-offending
A report by charity thinktank New Philanthropy Capital has found that 28% of charity projects have helped to reduce reoffending compared to 19% of private companies, reports the Guardian.The report...
- 29 Jul
It could become illegal to deny offenders legal aid
It could become illegal to deny prisoners in England and Wales legal aid so that they are able to effectively challenge the conditions they are held under, rules the court of appeal, reports the...
- 08 Jul
Offender’s rehabilitation is delayed by legal aid restrictions
The court of appeal has been told that thousands of prisoners are being prevented from starting rehabilitation due to them being denied legal aid for parole board hearings, reports the...
- 17 Mar
New supported accommodation for ex-offenders in Birmingham
Trident Reach the People Charity's new Reach House has been built to provide 24-hour supported accommodation for young offenders to help support them getting back into the community after their...
- 12 Mar
Staff working with young offenders criticised
A report by three inspection bodies has said that staff aimed at helping reduce re-offending in young offenders are "too often suspicious of each other" reports the BBC.The report, by the Care...
- 19 Sep
Family homes are needed to help offenders re-offending
A study by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, HM Inspectorate of Probation and Ofsted had found that almost one in five prisoners did not know where they would be living once they left jail, reports Inside...
- 16 Sep
Ex-offenders ‘lacking home and job'
An inspection into resettlement provision for adult prisoners had followed 80 offenders after they left prison. Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said that it found the role of a prisoner's...
- 16 May
Offenders placed in prison for a day in a bid to cut re-offending
The Centre for Social Justice has urged the government to look to the US where this approach appears to work. The report has said that a third of people given community sentences re-offended within a...
- 30 Jan
Inspection finds offenders with learning disabilities are not being supported
The inspection looking into the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice systems was conducted by HM Inspectorate of Probation, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary,...
What are the Future Funding Arrangements for Supported and Sheltered Housing? "Information on Exempt Accommodation & DWP Review was very informative, but also commend your approach in delivering workshops/conferences in a proactive way, and use of email and your website as a public resource" P.C. - The Hyde Group