Former Premier wants mental health ‘excuse’ for crime scrapped
Former Premier Jeff Kennett has demanded the scrapping of laws which spare mentally-ill offenders from facing trial.
But it’s not that simple, according to mental health experts.
Kennett, the former chairman of Beyond Blue, says too many offenders “aren’t held accountable” for their actions because they say they were under the influence or have mental illness.
He says it’s sending the wrong message to society.
However, former Australian of the Year and mental health expert Professor Patrick McGorry said Mr Kennett’s solution was misguided.
“Jails are full of the mentally ill because of this failure of the mental health system,” he explained on 3AW Breakfast.
“People are being locked up and for very long periods, despite being mentally ill and having committed crimes.
“It’s not a soft on crime issue, at all.
“It’s a failure of a fundamental responsibility of government to provide health care for the seriously mentally ill.”
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