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Mentally-Ill Prisoners

Volume 976: debated on Wednesday 16 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people currently in prisons in England and Wales would be more appropriately placed in special or local psychiatric hospitals;(2) how many people currently detained in prisons in England and Wales fit the criteria set out in section 72(1)(

a) and ( b) of the Mental Health Act 1959.

were conditionally discharged and still liable to recall under section 66(3) of the Act could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many patients who were subject to restriction orders under section 65of the Mental Health Act 1959 were absolutely discharged during 1976, 1977 and 1978; and in how many of such cases the absolute discharge was made (a) on account of the imposition of a subsequent restriction order, (b) on account of the imposition of a sentence of life imprisonment, (c) on account of the repatriation of the patient, and (d) where the Secretary of State was satisfied that it was no longer necessary for the patient to be subject to any of his legal powers of control or recall.

The available information is as follows:able, 557 people in prison department establishments in England and Wales were suffering from mental disorder which in the opinion of prison medical officers warranted their detention in hospital for medical treatment. Of this number, 206 were unsentenced and four were non-criminal cases. The remaining 347 were convicted prisoners or trainees, of whom 174 were suffering from mental illness and of the remainder 143 from psychopathic disorder.