7101CCJ FORENSIC MENTAL HEALTH LEGISLATION & POLICIES ESSAY: Question: ‘In contemporary society we see two emerging trends affecting people with a mental illness. The first trend is using the criminal justice system to give the community greater protection from ‘dangerous’ mentally ill offenders. The second trend is towards making legal processes more therapeutic. These trends are in complete conflict and cannot coexist’. Discuss.
Abstract: There is no single answer to the problem of dangerousness. No society can ever be completely free of the risk of serious harm. It is stated that demands for public safety are entirely legitimate and have to be taken seriously. It will not do, as with some mental health specialists, to see public safety as an over reaction. (Bean & Phillip, 2001). It is also stated that Therapeutic Jurisprudence is the “study of the role of the law as a therapeutic agent” focussing on “the laws impact on emotional life and psychological wellbeing”. (Amendola; F. Andrew, 2009). It encourages lawyers to “attempt to create the most beneficial and emotionally satisfactory solution given a particular client’s interest and circumstances”, thus providing a therapeutic outcome. (Amendola; F. Andrew, 2009). How then do we try and coexist in a society where community protection against “dangerous” mentally ill offenders is paramount but so is the trends towards making legal processes more therapeutic. In this paper I will attempt to discuss the two different trends, even though they are both in such complete conflict.
3 Trend 1: Mentally disordered offenders, by definition are mentally disordered individuals who commit crimes. Dangerous offenders fall under the following categories: Those who are violent offenders, sexually violent offenders, persons with brain damage, and offenders with personality disorders, psychopathic, offenders with major mental disorders or mentally retarded offenders. (Hodgins, S...