Last updated 31 January 2018

Assessment of people in custody

The Mental Health Act 2016 (Qld) (Mental Health Act) makes provisions for people in custody who may require assessment or treatment for mental illness to be transported to an authorised mental health service for that purpose. This can happen in various situations:

  • If a recommendation for assessment is made for a person who is in custody, the person can be transported to the inpatient unit of an authorised mental health service for assessment (s 65).
  • If a person in custody is subject to a treatment authority, a forensic order or a treatment support order, they can be transported to the inpatient unit of an authorised mental health service to receive treatment and care for their mental illness (s 66).
  • In certain circumstances, a person in custody who is not subject to a recommendation for assessment, a treatment authority, a forensic order or a treatment support order can be transported with their consent to the inpatient unit of an authorised mental health service to receive treatment and care for their mental illness (s 67).

Classified patients

A person who is transported from custody to the inpatient unit of an authorised mental health service in these situations becomes a classified patient (s 64 Mental Health Act). The classified patient provisions are intended to enable people in custody who are or become acutely unwell to be transferred to an authorised mental health service so that they can receive appropriate care and treatment.

A person stops being a classified patient if later returned to custody (s 83 Mental Health Act), or if the Mental Health Court makes a decision on a reference in relation to the person (s 84 Mental Health Act).

The Mental Health Act also makes provisions for a person who has been transported under these provisions to an authorised mental health service to remain there if it is considered clinically appropriate (s 74 Mental Health Act), or to be returned to custody (ss 82, 671 Mental Health Act).

Court examination orders made by the Mental Health Court

Another situation in which a person who is in custody can be transferred to an authorised mental health service is when the person is the subject of proceedings in the Mental Health Court. If the court orders that the person be examined by a stated psychiatrist (a court examination order), the person may in certain circumstances be transported to an authorised mental health service for that purpose (ss 74, 670, 671 Mental Health Act).