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The Bradley Report: Lord Bradley’s review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system

The Secretary of State for Justice asked me to undertake this independent review in December 2007, under the following terms of reference:
-to examine the extent to which offenders with mental health problems or learning disabilities could, in appropriate cases, be diverted from prison to other services and the barriers to such diversion; and
-to make recommendations to government, in particular on the organisation of effective court liaison and diversion arrangements and the services needed to
support them.

I kept the remit of the review as broad as possible within those terms so that it could incorporate the range of severity of mental health problems, and could include diversion in all its potential interpretations, from prevention and early intervention through all the stages of the criminal justice system and back out into the community. In acknowledgement of the breadth of the remit, the length of the review was extended from the initial six months to one year. I realised very quickly that if I looked at just ‘diversion’ in its traditional sense,

i.e. schemes set up in courts, an opportunity would be missed to look at the whole offender pathway and make effective changes that would impact on this population. The lack of progress in this area seemed to be caused, in part, by the continual development of policies and practice in isolation from each other, affecting only small parts of the system, or addressing one problem at a time. I did not want to compound this lack of progress by taking the same approach. This review provided an excellent opportunity to take stock, look at the whole system and move the agenda forward.