The mentally disordered offender: disenablers for the delivery of justice

Jane Winstone, Francis Pakes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Mental disorder intersects with the criminal justice system in complex and changing relationships (Morris, 2001, p. 595). It affects all agencies and criminal justice processes (see Stone, 2003) and it is no overstatement to say that offenders with mental health problems offer a particular challenge to the criminal justice system (Stone, 2003; Peay, 2002; Laing, 1999; Winstone and Pakes, 2005). The term reserved for these individuals is mentally disordered offenders (MDO), but the way in which this group is defined is far from straightforward. A narrow perspective would limit the application of the term MDO exclusively to those sentenced under the Mental Health Act 1983. That presumes the presence of mental disorder (itself a complex issue, Laing, 1999), as well as the establishment of a certain relevance of the disorder to offending, or reoffending. Those contained and treated under the Mental Health Act 1983 are an identifiable group of individuals and are subject to close scrutiny (e.g. Ly and Howard, 2004). Under such a definition, MDOs will concern only a small subset of the criminal justice population.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApplying psychology to criminal justice
EditorsDavid Carson, Becky Milne, Francis Pakes, Karen Shalev, Andrea Shawyer
Place of PublicationChichester
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780470015155
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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