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Loss of contact with psychiatric services in people diverted from the criminal justice system

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There have been few follow-up studies of patients diverted to psychiatric care from magistrates' courts. The aim of this study was to follow up all patients diverted by a court diversion scheme over a 2-year period and to examine reasons for loss of contact with services where applicable. Of the patients diverted to inpatient services from the courts, at least one third had lost contact with psychiatric services at 12 months follow-up. For patients referred from the courts to psychiatric community teams or outpatient clinics, less than one third attended their first appointment and of those, almost one third had become disengaged from services before the follow-up 12 months later. There is a need to develop a more effective outreach service to assist patients with serious mental illness to engage with services immediately following court appearance.
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Keywords: ASSERTIVE TREATMENT; COMPLIANCE; COURT DIVERSION; FOLLOW-UP; IMPRISONMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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