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Prisoner's rights

Transfers

Transfer to a hospital

What if I need medical treatment?

You can be transferred from prison to a hospital if you need medical, surgical or dental treatment.

The time you spend in hospital will still count as time spent serving your sentence.

Can I be transferred to a psychiatric hospital?

Corrections Regulations 2005, reg 76; Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, ss 45, 46

Yes. You can agree to be transferred to a psychiatric hospital, or you can be transferred without your agreement if a Family Court judge makes a Compulsory Treatment Order under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992.

To begin the process of obtaining a compulsory treatment order, the prison manager can apply in writing to an official called the Director of Area Mental Health Services, asking the Director to arrange for your mental condition to be assessed. Then if the Family Court makes a compulsory treatment order, the order can require you to stay in a psychiatric hospital for assessment or treatment or both.

If the Family Court is considering making a compulsory treatment order, you’re entitled to have a lawyer represent you during this process. Contact your current lawyer, if you have one, or contact your local Community Law Centre or the closest District Court or branch of the Law Society, and they’ll be able to give you the names of lawyers who have experience with the mental health procedures.

Am I still serving my prison sentence while I’m in a psychiatric hospital?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 48

Yes. Your sentence doesn’t stop while you’re in a psychiatric hospital, so you don’t have to serve any extra time to make up for this. However, if you escape from the hospital, the time when you’re free will be added to your sentence.

Can I be sent back to prison from the psychiatric hospital?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 47

Yes. The Director of Mental Health Area Services can order you to be returned to prison, or transferred to another hospital at any time.

What happens if I am still in a psychiatric hospital at the end of my sentence?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 48

If you’re there voluntarily, you’ll remain in the hospital as an informal patient and you’ll be free to leave and return to the community at any time.

If you’re there under a Compulsory Treatment Order you’ll remain there under that order, which means you won’t be free to leave.

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Transfers

Where to go for more support

Community Law

www.communitylaw.org.nz

Your local Community Law Centre can provide initial free legal advice and information.

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