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Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 2002;(412):47-53.

Community forensic psychiatry: restoring some sanity to forensic psychiatric rehabilitation.

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  • 1Regional Forensic Psychiatry Services, Waitemata Health, Auckland, New Zealand.



To review clinical and legal paradigms of community forensic mental health care, with specific focus on New Zealand, and to develop a clinically based set of guiding principles for service development in this area.


The general principles of rehabilitating mentally disordered offenders, and assertive community care programmes were reviewed and applied to the law and policy in a New Zealand forensic mental health setting.


There is a need to develop comprehensive community treatment programmes for mentally disordered offenders. The limited available research supports assertive community treatment models, with specialist forensic input. Ten clinically based principles of care provision important to forensic mental health assertive community treatment were developed.


Deinstitutionalization in forensic psychiatry lags behind the rest of psychiatry, but can only occur with well-supported systems in place to assess and manage risk in the community setting. The development of community-based forensic rehabilitation services in conjunction with general mental health is indicated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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