Characteristics and re-offending outcomes of ‘limiting-term’ forensic patients found unfit to stand trial in New South Wales, Australia

Timothy Wu, Sara Singh, Georgia Lyons, Olav Nielssen, Richard Kemp, Anina Johnson, Kimberlie Dean*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    There are little published data on the characteristics or outcomes of offenders found unfit to stand trial who receive a ‘qualified finding of guilt’ in a Special Hearing in New South Wales (NSW) and are detained for a ‘limiting term’ (LT) under the supervision of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT). We examined NSW MHRT records linked to re-offending data, to report on the characteristics and outcomes of 69 LT patients in a cohort spanning two decades. The most common diagnoses were schizophrenia (54%) and intellectual disability (33%). Patients were detained on average for 4.2 years, which is slightly shorter than the average maximum term imposed. Of the 55 people for whom criminal record data were available, 9.1% were charged with an offence during the first year post-release and 60% overall were charged for at least one post-release offence during a follow-up period ranging from 4.7 to 11.1 years.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)733-747
    Number of pages15
    JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
    Volume28
    Issue number5
    Early online date19 Jan 2021
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2021

    Keywords

    • detention
    • forensic patients
    • incompetent
    • limiting term
    • mental health review tribunal
    • re-offending
    • trial
    • unfit

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