Sunday, March 11, 2012

Implementing Human Rights in Closed Environments conference - Psychiatric Settings

Extract of article written for RightNow, find the full article and others on the conference on their website.

"Detainees, whether deprived of their liberty for justified or less justified reasons, belong to the most vulnerable and forgotten sectors of our societies."

These were the words of Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, in 2010.

In this parallel session on psychiatric settings, the panel discussed Australian forensic mental health facilities and their international comparison. It was suggested that those in psychiatric facilities are absent from the public mind more so than any other detained group. The issues that affect them are not well understood by the majority of the population and, after all, they have committed a criminal offence.

The session focused on the work of Tom Dalton, Chief Executive Officer of Forensicare. Dalton discussed his experiences working in local forensic mental health care with Oliver Lewis, of the Hungary-based international human rights organisation, the Mental Disability Advocacy Center; and Natalie Pierce, Legal Advisor to the Chair of the Independent Police Conduct Authority in New Zealand.

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