This review was undertaken to investigate the evidence base on how adults with mental health problems experience civil, family and criminal justice in the UK. The focus is on both formal justice systems and processes, such as civil and criminal courts and tribunals, and informal ones, such as advice and information. The areas of interest cover criminal, civil, family and employment justice and the research reviewed came from a broad range of academic disciplines and sources, provided they met with the quality criteria set out in advanced of the review.
The original questions of the review focused on the actual experiences adults with mental health problems have when attempting to access justice systems and processes. The main findings were as follows; adults with mental health problems are over-represented in populations of offenders; adults with mental health problems are more at risk of crime victimisation than the general population; adults with mental health problems are likely to experience higher rates of some civil justiciable problems; risk factors associated with mental health problems and offending include homelessness, substance misuse and history of offending. There is evidence prejudicial attitudes within the criminal justice system may result in negative justice outcomes for adults with mental health problems and decisions being made based on an incorrect understanding of mental health problems. Discrimination and prejudice against adults with mental health problems may deter people from disclosing their mental health problems, seeking advice or support for fear of disclosure.