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Prisoners

Volume 124: debated on Monday 7 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are estimated to be suffering from mental illness, as defined by the Mental Health Act.

The latest returns from prison medical officers of the number of inmates considered to be suffering from mental disorder of a type or degree such that they would be detainable under the Mental Health Act 1983 show that on 31 March 1987, 95 sentenced and 145 unsentenced inmates were suffering from mental illness. These and numbers considered to be detainable in other categories defined by the Mental Health Act are given on page 69 of the "Report on the Work of the Prison Service 1986–87" (Cm. 246) a copy of which is in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are estimated to be suffering from mental disorders not falling within the terms of the Mental Health Act, for the last two years for which figures are available.

Information is not available in precisely the form requested. Two censuses have been undertaken by prison medical officers of inmates serving sentences of six months and more considered to require specialised therapeutic facilities by reason of mental disorder or abnormality. The censuses showed that on 4 December 1985, a total of 1,583 inmates and on 1 October 1986 a total of 1,340 inmates were suffering from mental disorder that was not of a type or degree such that they would be detainable under the Mental Health Act 1983.