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FOR6009 - Psychiatry, law and criminal justice systems

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Dr Andrew Carroll


Not offered in 2007


This unit will examine the role of mental health in criminal and civil law from a variety of perspectives. The rationale for specialist forensic mental health services will be critically examined. The specific challenges in dealing with a variety of mental health problems in custodial settings will be explored. The application of mental health expertise to legal issues such as competency, criminal responsibility and coercive treatment will be examined, within a broad-based framework, taking account of international and historical perspectives.


On completion of this unit, the student will be expected to:

  1. Understand the key roles and responsibilities of forensic mental health services.
  2. Describe the services which comprise a modern forensic mental health system in developed countries.
  3. Deal in a balanced and informed way with the special challenges of assessing and managing mental health issues in correctional settings.
  4. Understand the mental health and rehabilitative needs of special populations in criminal justice settings including mentally disordered offenders, women, intellectually disabled and juveniles.
  5. Describe appropriate systemic and clinical responses to the challenge of self harming behaviours and suicide.
  6. Understand the major issues involved in detaining the mentally disordered against their will.
  7. Understand the concept of competency and its application in various contexts.
  8. Have a broad understanding of the concept of criminal responsibility and how mental disorder may relate to this.


Case reports (30%); Assignment - 2500 words (40%); Oral presentation -10-15 minutes (30%).

Off Campus Attendance Requirements

Students will attend for two days on campus at the end of the semester. This will consist of 16 hours of seminars, workshops and a practical component.