- Joint initiative between the Mental Health Commission and the Department of the Attorney General reduces reoffending
The State Government has reinforced its commitment to people with mental illness involved in the criminal justice system by allocating $13.1 million in the 2016-17 State Budget to the Mental Health Court Diversion Program.
Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said the funding would enable the program to continue to provide advocacy and treatment to vulnerable people for a further three years.
"Unfortunately, we know people with a mental illness are often over-represented in the criminal justice system and this is often due to untreated symptoms," Ms Mitchell said.
"This diversion program identifies people in the system whose offending behaviour is potentially the result of mental illness and offers them an alternative to prison through access to mental health treatment and support services.
"For many people this initiative is the intervention that breaks the cycle of reoffending.
"In 2015, a sample of cases showed 92 per cent of adult participants and 86 per cent of child participants experienced significant improvement in their mental health through their involvement with the program."
Attorney General Michael Mischin said that since March 2013, the diversion program had been embraced by the courts with 934 adults and 898 children being referred for treatment.
"The program helps the courts to manage complex cases in a way that benefits the individuals and their families while maintaining community safety," Mr Mischin said.
"Analysis found 80 per cent of adults who completed the program either ceased offending or committed less serious offences. This is a great outcome for these people and for the community.
"The high rate of referrals also illustrates the value placed on the program by judicial officers."
- The Mental Health Court Diversion Program was established as a pilot in March 2013
- The program is a partnership between the Mental Health Commission and the Department of the Attorney General, also involving the Department of Health, WA Police, the Department of Corrective Services, Legal Aid WA and non-government organisation Outcare
Mental Health Minister's office - 6552 5400