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An Open Forensic Unit for the Borderline Mentally Impaired Offender

  • Jeanette Smith (a1)
Extract

Over recent years attention has been directed towards providing appropriate facilities for the mentally abnormal offender. In the past such individuals were probably absorbed into the hospital system. However, the open door policy of the 1960s and 1970s, together with hospital closures and reduced bed numbers, has meant that this invisible absorption has been unable to continue. It has been suggested that many of these mentally abnormal offenders are inappropriately placed within the penal system, thus contributing to prison overcrowding. The Butler and Glancy Reports recommended Regional Secure Units as a possible solution. At the beginning of 1987, 14 of these had opened. The tendency has been for Regional Secure Units to deal mainly with the mentally ill offenders and the needs of the mentally impaired have been largely overlooked. The literature on the subject of this latter group has been sparse. Craft described an isolated unit in Wales, which dealt with mentally abnormal offenders, and there are hospitals which provide secure facilities for the mentally handicapped. The purpose of this study is to describe the characteristics of the patients admitted to an open forensic unit in order to assess the suitability of the facilities and the outcome of the treatment provided.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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1 Penrose, L. S. (1939) Mental disease and crime. Outline of a comparative study of European statistics. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 18, 115.
2 Legal Correspondent (1985) Mentally ill offenders in prison. British Medical Journal, 290, 447.
3 Department of Health and Social Security and the Home Office (1975) Report of the Committee on Mentally Abnormal Offenders (Butler Report) (1975) London: HMSO.
4 Working Party on Security in NHS Hospitals (1974) Revised Report (Glancy Report). London: Department of Health & Social Security.
5 Snowden, P. (1985) A survey of a Regional Secure Unit programme. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 147, 499507.
6 Snowden, P. (1987) Regional Secure Units: arriving but under threat. British Medical Journal, 294, 13101311.
7 Craft, M. (1984) Should one treat or gaol psychopaths? In Mentally Abnormal Offenders (eds Craft, M. & A.). London: Baillière Tindall.
8 Isweran, M. S. & Bardsley, E. M. (1987) Secure facilities for mentally impaired patients. Bulletin of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 11, 5254.
9 Power, D. J. (1969) Subnormality and crime. Medicine, Science and the Law, 9, 8293 and 162–171.
10 Reid, A. M. (1982) The Psychiatry of Mental Handicap. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0140-0789
  • EISSN: 2514-9954
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An Open Forensic Unit for the Borderline Mentally Impaired Offender

  • Jeanette Smith (a1)
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