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Prisoners: Mentally Ill

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners with mental illnesses have been transferred from prison to hospital (a) six months, (b) one month and (c) a week before their release date in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (290013)

The information requested is shown in the table. The number of transferred prisoners includes both restricted and unrestricted patients, and includes prisoners suffering from all the categories of mental disorder defined in the Mental Health Act 1983 before its amendment with effect from 3 November 2008.

(a) Six months(b) One month(c) One weekPeriod unknown

Total number of transfers to hospital involving sentenced prisoners

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

2004

405

155

38.3

102

25.2

72

17.8

15

3.7

2005

414

181

43.7

119

28.7

82

19.8

7

1.7

2006

488

208

42.6

121

24.8

77

15.8

14

2.9

2007

455

202

44.4

116

25.5

82

18.0

1

0.2

2008

508

206

40.6

119

23.4

79

15.6

2

0.4

Many of the prisoners who were transferred within one month or one week of their release date were serving short sentences of less than six months. The Secretary of State will only authorise a transfer very close to the end of sentence where he is satisfied on the basis of medical advice that it is justified by the prisoner’s medical condition.