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Prisoner, Dartmoor (Death)

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 16 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what psychiatric treatment had been given to Thomas Nelson, a Dartmoor prisoner who recently died in a straitjacket, since his imprisonment; and why he was not transferred to a mental hospital under the provisions of Section 72 of the Mental Health Act, 1959.

This prisoner was not suitable for psychiatric treatment or transfer to a mental hospital.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will arrange for an independent inquiry into the circumstances in which Thomas Nelson, a prisoner at Dartmoor, came to be wearing a straitjacket and occupying a padded cell at the time of his death.

This prisoner was placed in a loose canvas restraint jacket and located in a padded room because he had become violent and was injuring himself. A post-mortem examination by an outside pathologist showed death to be due to myocardial ischaemia. At the inquest a verdict of death from natural causes was returned.