Umgang mit gefährlichen straftätern in England und Wales: Gesetzliche grundlagen und probleme in der praxis (Dealing with dangerous offenders in England and Wales: Legal foundations and problems in practice)
Vollm, Birgit A.
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Forensic psychiatric institutions exist in all western European countries. Their organisation depends on a number of factors including the legal framework and societal attitudes towards mentally disordered offenders. This article describes and critically comments on the forensic psychiatric system in England and Wales, its legal framework and approaches to dealing with dangerous offenders. England and Wales have a long forensic psychiatric tradition with the first high security hospital, Broadmoor hospital, having been established in 1863. Evidence-based treatment approaches in forensic hospitals as well as in prisons, training of forensic psychiatrists and research in the field of forensic psychiatry have gained international recognition. However, there are some worrying aspects in the system of forensic psychiatric care and the criminal justice system more generally, in particular the high and still increasing number of prisoners in comparison with other European countries, the low age of criminal responsibility, long sentences, increasing length of stay in forensic care and the increasingly risk averse culture. A number of differences to the German system can be found; one such difference relates to the role of criminal responsibility which is irrelevant for decisions regarding commitment in England and Wales. Only the mental state and need for treatment at the time of trial (or later assessment in prison) determine whether an offender is admitted to psychiatric care or receives a prison sentence. A number of new initiatives have been launched in recent years resulting in an increasing number of individuals being detained in forensic psychiatric and criminal justice institutions, in particular the initiative for the detention and treatment of individuals with so-called dangerous and severe personality disorders, the sexual offenders register and the new sentence of indeterminate imprisonment for public protection. These initiatives have been the subject of a number of complaints to the European Court of Human Rights. Nevertheless, the trend towards a more and more risk averse culture continues. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved) (Source: journal abstract)