Treat or prosecute? An examination of the reluctance to prosecute mentally disordered offenders who are already detained in pPsychiatric inpatient units

Gatawa, Tafadzwa (2011) Treat or prosecute? An examination of the reluctance to prosecute mentally disordered offenders who are already detained in pPsychiatric inpatient units. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    The overall aim of this service evaluation is to investigate the experiences of staff working in a high secure hospital in relation to prosecuting inpatients following incidents of assault on staff and other patients. Although it is widely acknowledged that mental disorder may be a contributory factor to violent behaviour and much has been written about this (Taylor, 2004; Chen, Hwu and Hsiung, 2010 and Vinkers et al., 2011), there has been relatively little written about prosecuting psychiatric inpatients (Rachlin, 1994).

    Seventeen semi –structured interviews with staff and patients informed this study. The interviews focus on experience of involvement, directly or indirectly, in the prosecution process and exploration of the challenges and benefits of undertaking this process in a high secure hospital environment. There is further exploration of the impact of different diagnoses on the decision to prosecute as well as exploration of the impact of prosecution on treatment outcomes.

    The analysis of the findings shows that there is an implicit reluctance to prosecute patients detained in a high secure hospital following incidents of assault on staff and other patients. The interviews with staff revealed some ambivalence in relation to the utility of such prosecutions for high secure patients. In part this was due to resignation by some staff that the cases would not be taken further and therefore little efforts were made in pursuing a prosecution. Another factor that appeared to contribute to the reluctance to prosecute from external agencies was that unlike the patients in acute psychiatric care who may face the possibility of being moved to a secure facility, for patients detained in Broadmoor Hospital there is (in most cases) nowhere for them to go even if successfully prosecuted.

    The implications of this research are that further education is required for both staff and police in relation to understanding the value of undertaking this process. There needs to be more impetus on application of the rule of law within a high secure hospital and de-mystifying the law in relation to detained mentally disordered patients.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2011 14:16
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:50
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/5695

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