The Assessment and Referral Court (ARC) List & Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – are they compatible?

Glenn Rutter1, Brianna Chesser2, Glen Hardy3

1 Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, GPO Box 882, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.

2 Australian Catholic University, 115 Victoria Pde, Fitzroy, Vic, 3065.

3 Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, GPO Box 882, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.

There is evidence that individuals who meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are over-represented in the criminal justice system. However, the behaviours and patterns of relating associated with BPD pose particular challenges for therapeutic jurisprudence programs that attempt to work with them.

The Assessment and Referral Court (ARC) List is a specialist court list in Victoria established to address the needs of accused persons who have a mental illness/cognitive impairment.  Operating at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court the ARC List combines a problem solving court approach with case management support for accused persons.

The ARC List has received over 1100 referrals since its inception in 2010.  It has improved participants’ quality of life, reduced reoffending and provided participants with the opportunity to address the underlying causes of their offending behaviour.  The extent to which participants embrace the ARC List is reflected in the 80% completion rate of those accepted onto the program.

This paper examines the outcomes of over fifty participants with BPD who have participated in the ARC List and explores their interactions within the program.


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