Barbados: Mental health court proposed

A mental health court has been proposed for Barbados to help prevent the substantial number of convicts with mental health problems falling through the cracks.

The proposal has come from Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, who recalled that he had championed the Drug Treatment Court which he said is working well.

According to Barbados Today, Brathwaite was speaking on health as part of the Estimates debate in Parliament Friday afternoon.

The publication reported that the Attorney General sought to ground his case for such a court on the fact that half of those in prison suffer from mental health challenges because they were not treated before being incarcerated.

He noted that in some jurisdictions there are courts whose only remit is to assess the mental capacity of individuals to be tried or to have committed the crime with which they are charged.

These courts Brathwaite said, are supervised by judges, accompanied by mental health professional who can make that assessment.

He drew reference to a man who was charged with rape and released on bail.

But, according to the AG, the accused raped again within half hour of being granted bail.

Brathwaite attributed this to the failure by authorities to treat his mental illness.