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Mental Patients (Secure Accommodation)

Volume 86: debated on Thursday 14 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will outline the criteria used to determine whether a patient convicted of a criminal offence to which section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983 applies should be detained in secure medical accommodation or a prison hospital.

Where a person has been convicted of an offence, the court has the choice, in the light of any psychiatric evidence, either to impose a sentence, which may be custodial, or to make a hospital order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983. If the court decided to impose a custodial sentence the person concerned would go to prison and responsibility for dealing with any mental disorder would therefore fall to the prison medical service.If the person's mental condition were then to deteriorate while he was in prison to a point where he met the requirements of the Mental Health Act for detention for treatment, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary could direct his transfer to hospital under section 47 of the Mental Health Act.Where the original decision by the court was to make a hospital order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act, the hospital order would not be made until the court had established that a suitable place was available in a hospital and the order would be for his detention in that hospital. Such detention could be in a special hospital if there was judged to be a high level of prospective dangerousness. In other cases, detention would be in a National Health Service regional secure unit or some other suitable hospital.