What happens to mentally ill ex-offenders released back into a society that often view them with fear?
Mental illness makes many people feel uncomfortable and the resulting discrimination runs deep, despite the plethora of laws and right-on noise.
Public reaction can be strong, especially when mentally ill ex-offenders are released back into the community.
This is hardly surprising given the frenzied media attention that often accompanies high profile murders cases involving mental illness and their cumulative influence on the public psyche. It is also highly misleading.
Reoffending rates among the mentally ill are low compared to ex-prisoners and the prospect of becoming a victim remote. Fewer than one in ten re-offend within two years of discharge. Although this is somewhat problematic to compare, as those released from forensic services include closer supervision of those discharged from hospital in the community than for ex-prisoners, it is worth considering the figures.