Treatment and care rather than crime and punishment:

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Treatment and care rather than crime and punishment:
submission to the NSW Law Reform Commission Inquiry - People with cognitive and mental health impairments in the criminal justice system
Dodd, Peter.
Publication Date:
31 Jul 2010
Publication Type:

PIAC’s response to the NSW Law Reform Commission discussion papers is based on the following principles:

  • The principle of least restriction.
  • The principle that diversion and treatment should be the first response.
  • The principle that mental illness and cognitive impairment should be a key factor in sentencing decisions.
  • The principle that all defendants should be able to raise the defences of mental illness or intellectual impairment in all courts.
  • The principle that if a person is not fit to stand trial because of mental impairment he/she should not be forced to enter a plea in any court.
  • The principle that all prisoners, correctional patients and forensic patients should have access to quality health care, including proper psychiatric and psychological services.
  • The principle that persons who are not convicted of an offence should not be held or treated in a correctional facility.
  • The principle that every person who is charged with a criminal offence should have access to appropriate and effective legal representation.
  • The principle that diversionary programs and options must be properly co-ordinated and properly resourced in order to be effective.

PIAC’s submission responds to the definitional issues raised in Discussion Paper 5(An overview) taking a human rights approach. The submission then addresses particular issues and questions raised in Discussion Paper 6 (Criminal responsibility and consequences) and Discussion Paper 7 (Diversion) based on the principles set out above.

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