Universiteit Leiden

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Institutions for Conflict Resolution

Mental health and the law

Mental health issues in the Dutch court: The criminal court as a border guard between the regular Mental Health System and the Criminal Justice system?

The population of the Criminal Justice System is known for its high proportion of mental health problems, while the CJS often has limited options to provide the needed care and treatment to face those problems. Besides that, the label ‘mentally ill’ seems more applicable in the case of severe mental health issues than ‘criminal’. Therefore, placement within the regular Mental Health System is sometimes preferable in these cases. The Dutch legislator created a new article of law that gives the criminal court the opportunity to realize placement in MHS through a civil court authorization for mandated mental health care. This research will look at this article from a diversion-perspective and will examine how it is put into practice.

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