Oxford University Press launches "Forensic Mental Health - concepts, system and practice" at Garden Court Chambers

Monday 23 November 2009

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Forensic Mental Health

- A comprehensive and powerful analysis of the forensic mental health system, looking
at the huge practical and ethical problems inherent in such a system.

-Brings together a range of highly experienced specialists, who describe and
consider their own contribution to this process - one that ultimately has the right
to deprive an individual of his or her liberty.

-Considers and compares the treatment of mentally disordered offenders in
other parts of the world, challenging the reader to consider how their own role in
this process might be made more effective and fair.

This book presents a penetrating and thought-provoking analysis of the forensic
mental health system - how it operates, the people involved, the problems inherent in
such a system, and the huge ethical dilemma of depriving an individual of their
freedom. It brings together a range of specialists, each with considerable experience,
who describe the processes involved in dealing with an MDO - from their own unique

The book starts with a section on violence and risk - covering a range of ideas from the disciplines of criminology, sociology, psychiatry and psychology that contribute to an understanding of these concepts. The second section, on Forensic Psychotherapeutic Approaches to MDOs details the contributions of both cognitive and psychodynamic psychotherapies to understanding and managing thepsychopathology, risk and interpersonal interactions of MDOs. Legislation, both statutory and case law, has changed substantially in relation to MDOs over the last decade and the third section on Law discusses these changes as well as the fierce debate that has surrounded them. The fourth section, on Ethics, develops some of these ideas on capacity, autonomy, vulnerability and responsibility. It describes common ethical dilemmas for professionals in forensic settings as it lays out the different duties involved in the different professional roles intrinsic to multi-agency working. The fifth section on Social Policy discusses the development of the concept of the MDO and how penal, health and social care institutions are designed to meet their needs. It illustrates how much has changed, especially in the last fifteen years and how much of that change has been driven by the risk agenda. The book concludes with an International Section exploring how other countries think about anti-social and violent behaviour and how their circumstances and dilemmas have led to approaches to MDOs both similar to and different from those of England and Wales.

The book will be essential for both students and professionals in the complex and
ethically challenging discipline of forensic mental health.

October 2009
Paperback, 488 pp


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