Last updated 2 September 2019

The Mental Health Act 2000 (Qld) (Mental Health Act) provides for a number of situations in which prisoners may be detained in security patients units in hospitals operated by Queensland Health. These include:

  • a person on remand awaiting trial, who is in need of treatment for mental illness
  • a person charged with criminal offences, who is found by the Mental Health Court to have been of unsound mind at the time of the alleged offence or to be unfit for trial due to a mental illness
  • a sentenced person who is found to be in need of treatment for a mental illness.

A prisoner who is also a classified patient under the Mental Health Act, is still eligible for parole. The administrator of the mental health service where the prisoner is receiving treatment must, at least seven days before the end of the prisoner’s period of imprisonment or parole eligibility date, give written notice of the ending or parole date to the Director of Mental Health. At the eligibility date, the patient will cease to be a classified patient, unless awaiting the start or continuation of other legal proceedings for an offence. The patient may, however, continue to be held as an involuntary patient under other sections of the Mental Health Act (see chapter on Mental Health Laws).