Friday, 30 October 2009

Criminal responsibility and PTSD - 2

There is a campaign underway now in the UK to make a verdict of 'not guilty on the grounds of diminished responsibility' plea to mentally ill people accused of crimes other than murder. The previous post relates the efforts of a similar campaign group working to protect veterans in the States. The problem with these efforts is that they are seen in some quarters as a 'criminals' charter', and it is unlikely the Ministry of Justice would embrace the idea of automatically giving veterans any privileged position in mental health defence cases.

The obvious way to resolve this dilemma is to have a proper tracking system that offers veterans the best possible services at the earliest possible moment when things start to unravel. There would be problems connected with privacy, data protection and (the real difficulty) cost, but how much does it cost to keep a man in prison each year, and what is the human cost down the line when families break up because of post-traumatic problems?

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