1. The government should examine legislative amendments to give greater flexibility to the courts in dealing with people under the Act, including:

(i)  community based alternatives to custody orders for people who are found unfit to stand trial but require some degree of supervision; and

(ii) repealing or restricting the scope of Schedule 1.

2. The government should examine legislative amendments to repeal the current ‘executive discretion’ model and to vest authority for decisions regarding the release of individuals under the Act to:

(i)   the Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board; or

(ii)  the courts; or

(iii) the Mental Health Review Board.

3. The government should increase the number of dedicated forensic mental health beds in hospitals. The increase should, at a minimum, match the increase in prisoner numbers since 1993 and projected future growth in prisoner numbers over the next decade.

4. In addition to expanding the number of forensic beds in a hospital setting, the government should develop transitional mental health units at Bandyup Women’s Prison and at least one male prison. These units should be evaluated with respect to their uptake and effectiveness, with a view to introducing such units at other prisons.

5. The government should continue to progress the establishment of declared places for people with a cognitive impairment held under the Act.

6. The government should examine ways to improve the co-ordination of release planning for people held under the Act. Consideration should be given to establishing a multi-agency committee directed by MIARB, which is resourced accordingly.

7. The Department of Corrective Services, in collaboration with other agencies, should develop specific policies for managing people under the Act, both in custody and in the community. These should include protocols for enhancing care and treatment, managing challenging behaviour, initiating leave of absence and developing release plans. Appropriate staff training should also be provided.

8. The Department of Corrective Services, in collaboration with external providers, should make individual treatment programs available to people under the Act who are not eligible for group programs.

9. The Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board, in consultation with the Department of Corrective Services, should document the minimum requirements to be included in treatment completion reports to make them consistent and useful for decision making. The Department of Corrective Services and other agencies should implement these requirements and ensure the reports they make are quality controlled.

Read responses to recommendations.

Page last updated: June 9, 2014

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