Diversion: A comparative study of law and policy relating to defendants and offenders with mental health problems and intellectual disability
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This thesis examines law and policy relating to defendants and offenders with mental health problems and intellectual disability. It is a comparative study of diversion in Ireland, England and Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Australia. It explores the reasons why Ireland never developed formal diversion provisions, processes and initiatives equivalent to those developed in other common law jurisdictions. The thesis also considers the implications of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for mental health legislation, the insanity defence and similar defences in criminal law and for diversion practice. The thesis reviews the literature on diversion with a view to identifying best practice and models that can be used in Ireland to respond to the over-representation of persons with mental health problems in the Irish prison population. The deinstitutionalisation movement has increased visibility of persons with ID in the community, which means that anti-social or criminal conduct is also more visible, and is increasingly being dealt with in the criminal justice system. This thesis explores the relevant law and policy responding to defendants and offenders with intellectual disability in contact with the criminal justice system from a human rights perspective.