To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to the likely cost of setting up a system of psychiatric bail hostels; and what estimate has been made of the present cost of keeping people who would benefit from such provision in prison.
On the basis of discussions with probation areas and voluntary organisations, we calculate that the unit cost of any approved bail hostel places for mentally disordered defendants would approach twice that of conventional places at approved bail hostels which in 1989–90 stood at £10,000 per annum. It is not possible to separate out the cost of keeping a mentally disordered defendant in a local prison or remand centre without disproportionate cost, but the average cost per inmate in 1989–90 was about £16,000 per annum.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any decisions have been made with regard to setting up a system of psychiatric bail hostels; and if he will make a statement.
We are considering what part bail hostels can play in a strategy for dealing with people who are mentally disordered, and shall announce our conclusion as soon as possible.Although no final decisions have yet been taken, the Government are firmly of the view that mentally disordered offenders should be diverted from the criminal justice system wherever possible or receive appropriate placements and prompt psychiatric treatment where prosecution is necessary in the public interest. A Home Office circular providing details of the wide range of measures available for achieving this was issued to the courts and others on 3 September 1990. I have sent a copy to the hon. Gentleman.