Keep mentally ill out of jail: new report

A new report from the NSW Law Reform Commission finds people with mental illness are significantly over-represented in the criminal justice system.

Speaking in response to the report, NSW Attorney General Greg Smith said the NSW Government will ‘carefully consider’ the report’s recommendations.

‘People with mental impairments are overrepresented in our courts and jails and the report’s recommendations aim to reduce their reoffending by ensuring their impairments are identified early and they have access to appropriate treatment and support,’ Mr Smith said.

The report’s 55 recommendations include :

  • expanding services that conduct mental health assessments of defendants at an early stage of the court process;
  • reforming existing legislative powers for courts to divert people with cognitive and mental health impairments;
  • creating a specialist court list to manage cases involving people with cognitive and mental health impairments;
  • expanding the Court Referral of Eligible Defendants into Treatment (CREDIT) program, which addresses the causes of an offender’s criminal behaviour; and
  • clearer definitions of mental health and cognitive impairment.

Read the Law Reform Commission report

Read PIAC’s submission

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