The increasing incidence of people living with mental illness in
the community means that justice and health agencies are
experiencing significant challenges. There are increasing
interactions between people with a mental illness and criminal
justice agencies, and a lack of capacity to adequately respond to
and manage these needs.
Justice and health agencies recognise the importance of
addressing mental health issues within the criminal justice system.
All have implemented initiatives that aim to improve outcomes, but
significant gaps remain.
There is currently no overarching strategy or leadership for
mental health and the justice system that focuses on improving
outcomes for people with a mental illness. Where plans do exist,
they are limited to agencies’ own areas of responsibility, or only
address parts of the justice system.
While there is evidence of agencies working together, this is
neither uniform nor sufficiently coordinated to address mental
Responsibility for coordinating the agencies is unclear, and
there is a lack of accountability for the success or failure of
responses across the criminal justice system. This is likely to
further limit the effectiveness of coordination, collaboration and
planning, as actions rely on individual agencies, their
relationships and their ability to take a system-wide