Research project: Care and supervision for mentally ill delinquents falling under the social defence act in prisons
When a person commits a punishable offence, a judge may rule that he or she should not be held responsible for the crime. This may apply to mentally ill individuals who commit a punishable offence and are found to be not responsible for their actions as a result of their mental state. In this case, the judge has ruled ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’.Some of the mentally ill offenders are clients of treatment services in the community, while other offenders have no history of treatment or care and are first identified as such as a result of their contact with the justice system.. Mentally handicapped offenders have specific needs such as medical care, living arrangements, social support, job assistnace, and individual counselling. These needs that cannot bemet if the offenders are incarcerated.
For the past few years, The Vlaams Agentschap voor Personen met een Handicap (VAPG) (Flemish organisation for the handicapped) and the general Flemish Welfare policy have been focusing their attention on this category of inmates,
Aims of the research
1) The projects aims to, firstly, describe the profile of the group of mentally ill inmates under the social defence act: How large is this group and what are its characteristics?
2) The second aim of the project is to describe the supply of services for mentally ill inmates organised by the Vlaams Agentschap voor Personen met een Handicap (Flemish organisation for the handicapped).
3) The third aim is to offer an overview of the international developments that are at stake: how are similar services organised abroad, and what is the efficiency of the different forms of treatment and care organised for this particular group?
In order to answer the first question, an analysis of files of the actual population of mentally ill inmates (under the social defence) under each of the three Flemish Social Defence Commissions (Gent, Antwerpen en Leuven) will construct a clinical profile of the target group. The second research question will be answered through an analysis of documents and interviews with staff members (directors, psychologists) of the participating day care centers and residential units. The interviews will deal with the ortho-agogical and therapeutic offers that exist for the target group, risk-assessment, and the basic conditions that must be fulfilled in order to realise the necessary supply of services. An overview of the international developments will be illustrated through a literature review.
- Eindrapport: Verlinden, S., Maes, B. & Goethals, J. (2009). Personen met een verstandelijke handicap onderhevig aan een interneringsmaatregel. Brussel: Steuntpunt Welzijn, Volksgezondheid en gezin. 102p.
- Lindsay, W.R., Hastings, R.P., Griffiths, D.M., & Hayes, S.C. (2007). Trends and challenges in forensic research on offenders with intellectual disabilities. Themanummer van Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 32(2).
- Lindsay, W.R., Steele, L., Smith, A.H.W., Quinn, K., & Allan, R. (2006). A community forensic intellectual disability service: twelve year follow up of referrals, analysis of referral patterns and assessment of harm reduction. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 11, 113-130.
- Goethals, J. (2002). De internering. De aanpak van de ontoerekeningsvatbare delinquent. In M. Bouverne-Debie, K. Kloeck, W. Meyvis, R., Roose, en J. Vanacker (Eds.), Handboek Forensisch welzijnswerk, pp. 547-584. Gent: Academia Press.