Who are security patients?
Money or property promised to be handed over as a guarantee for repayment of a loan, or as a guarantee that a defendant will meet their bail conditions. patients are people who have committed a criminal A criminal act prohibited by state or commonwealth criminal law. An offence is either a summary offence (minor) or an indictable offence (serious). and have been ordered to be detained in a designated mental health Formal delivery of legal documents to a person to tell them there are court proceedings against them which they must defend, or to make sure a witness in a case knows when they have to go to court to give evidence. for psychiatric treatment. A A person who has been sent to a mental hospital or residential institution rather than to prison. can be:
- a person found guilty of an offence where the An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate. has sentenced them by way of a court secure A court order saying that a person convicted of a criminal offence will be sent to a psychiatric hospital for treatment instead of going to prison. (CSTO), for a specified duration, under section 94A of the Sentencing A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation., in accordance with Part 11, Division 2 of the MHA 2014; or
- a person imprisoned or detained in prison or elsewhere (e.g. a remand centre, police jail, youth residential centre or youth justice centre) who is taken to and detained and treated at a designated mental health service under a secure treatment order (STO) made by the Secretary of the Victorian Government Department of Justice and Community Safety (‘Department of Justice’) under Part 11, Division 3 of the MHA 2014.
Court secure treatment orders
Before a CSTO can be made, a psychiatrist must examine the person and be satisfied that all the following criteria in section 94B(1)(c) of the Sentencing Act are met:
- the person has mental illness;
- because of the mental illness, they require treatment to prevent serious deterioration in their mental or physical health or to prevent serious harm to the person or someone else;
- the treatment A document that sets out what a person wants to happen to their money and other property after they die. be provided if the person is put on a CSTO; and
- there is no less restrictive means reasonably available to enable the person to receive the treatment.
The authorised psychiatrist of the relevant approved mental health service must also recommend the order be made, and confirm the availability of facilities and services for the person’s treatment. Almost identical criteria exist in section 276 of the MHA 2014 for making a STO.
In determining whether to make a CSTO, the court must consider the person’s current mental condition, their medical, psychiatric and forensic history and their social circumstances (s 94B(1)(b) Sentencing Act).
Challenging detention and treatment
A security patient subject to a CSTO can apply to the MHT (under s 272 MHA 2014) for a The time and place at which a court or tribunal hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. to challenge their detention and treatment. Similarly, a security patient on a STO can apply for that order to be revoked (under s 278).
If the CSTO or STO is discharged, the person is taken into the Lawful control over a person which prevents them leaving. A person under arrest is in police custody and is not free to go. A person in prison is serving a custodial sentence that keeps them confined to the prison grounds. of the Secretary of the Department of Justice; or, if To free a prisoner after they have served a minimum term, but before the end of their sentence. While on parole the person may be subject to conditions such as having to report regularly to police. has been granted, they are released on parole.
Security patients also have the right to seek a second psychiatric opinion under Part 5, Division 4 of the MHA 2014. Security patients also have the right to have their advance statement taken into account at various times, and their nominated person consulted and informed of various matters at relevant times.
Leave and transfers
The MHA 2014 sets out a range of processes and criteria to be applied for security patients on matters such as leave of absence, monitored leave, and transfer to another designate mental health service. The MHA 2014 also deals with transfer applications to the MHT. For more information, see the DHHS’s handbook to the MHA 2014 (available at www2.health.vic.gov.au/mental-health).