Mental Health, Autism & Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts

Information for magistrates, district judges and court staff

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Bail and remand decisions summary


  • Vulnerable defendants have the same right to bail as defendants who are not vulnerable.
  • There is an overuse of remand into custody for vulnerable defendants, which may be viewed, wrongly, as a place of safety.
  • Prison can exacerbate mental health conditions for which there is limited access to treatment, especially for short stay prisoners; prison has been shown to be ill-equipped to deal with prisoners with learning disabilities.
  • Information about community services for vulnerable defendants could reduce the perceived need for custodial remand, and should be available. Liaison and diversion services have an important role to play in this regard.

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