2009 issue 4


Volume 18, issue 4

Clinical notes

Enforcement of detention order in the context of opinions indicating a lack of sufficient grounds to continue detention

Danuta Hajdukiewicz1
1. Klinika Psychiatrii Sądowej Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2009; 18 (4): 407-411
Keywords: mental hospital detention, legal regulations


Objectives. The aim of the paper is to acąuaint psychiatrists and psychologists with major changes, particularly those concerning opinions about a lack of sufficient grounds to continue detention, in view of modifications introduced in Chapter XIII of the Executive Penal Code (EPC).
Notes. The objectives of detention order providing for the perpetrator 's placement in a closed secure institution are: to prevent "his/her repetitive behaviors life- or health-threatening to others, or causing damage to objects of a considerable value", and to submit the perpetrator to appropriate treatment, therapeutic interventions or rehabilitation, as well as resocialization. The above-listed interventions are aimed at an "improvement of his/her health and conduct in a degree enabling him/her to return to life in the community and continue treatment in non-institutional conditions". After the amendment the tasks and objectives of institutions enforcing detention orders remained the same, but the mode of informing the court about the treatment outcome has changed. The former information or notification by the detaining institution director was replaced by periodical forensicpsychiatric opinions about treatment effects and their conseąuences for continuation of the detention. Forensic experts predict in their opinion whether there is a high probability of recurrence of a deed of a considerable social harmfulness related to the perpetrator 's mental disorder, mental retardation or psychoactive substance dependence, or whether such prediction would be groundless.
Conclusions. Changes introduced by the Executive Penal Code amendment of2003 were aimed at a reinforcement of the judicial body control over the detention order enforcement, including, among others, the reąuest for periodical forensic psychiatric opinions. In addition to these formal reąuirements, any expert opinion stating that further mental hospital detention of the perpetrator serving detention is not necessary should includepsychiatric assessment to justify such an opinion of psychiatry experts.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Danuta Hajdukiewicz
Klinika Psychiatrii Sądowej Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii
ul. Sobieskiego 9, 02-957 Warszawa
tel: 0-22-4582859