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Prison Service (Psychiatric Treatment)

Volume 463: debated on Monday 28 March 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of psychiatrists employed full time within the prison service; the number of prison doctors who possess special psychiatric qualifications; the number of prison inmates at present serving sentences for homosexual offences; the number or percentage of such prisoners who had received psychiatric treatment at the latest convenient date; and what steps are being taken to improve the position.

No psychiatrists are employed full-time in the prison service but six are engaged in a part-time capacity. Five prison medical officers possess special psychiatric qualifications, and many others have mental hospital experience. Four hundred and twelve prisoners are now serving sentences for homosexual offences. Prisoners convicted of these offences who in the opinion of the medical officer may benefit by psychiatric treatment are transferred to the prisons at which there are psychiatric clinics if their sentences are long enough. During the past six months. 40 homosexual offenders have received psychiatric treatment at these centres, and of those at present under sentence, 35 additional cases have received psychiatric examination and guidance at other prisons. Arrangements have also been made, from which prisoners convicted of these offences will benefit, to extend the psychiatric service available for prisoners who may benefit from treatment but cannot be removed to the special centres. Research, partly therapeutic in character, into the psychological and endocrinological aspects of homosexuality is being conducted at two selected prisons, and homosexuals will also benefit from research which is in progress into psychopathic personalities.