Intensive contact with psychiatric patients slashes crime rate

The reoffending rate among convicted criminals with serious psychiatric problems can be cut sharply by intensive contact with care providers, an experiment in Utrecht has shown.

According to the Volkskrant, a group of 25 psychiatric patients, considered to be among the most dangerous and complicated patients in the region, have been subjected to daily meetings with a specialised support team for the past 5.5 years.

As a result the number of contacts between the police and the psychiatric patients fell from 377 in 2008 to just 28 in the first six months of this year.

Local health chiefs say before this intensive approach was adopted, it was difficult to deal with the patients, who refused to accept help and were often violent.

Although the programme is expensive, it has led to fewer crimes and court appearances and fewer stays in psychiatric prisons, spokesman Harry Gras told the paper.

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