The history of Broadmoor involves the management of mentally abnormal offenders, or ‘criminal lunatics’ as they were called, over the last 180 years (Partridge 1953; Walker and McCabe 1973; Allderidge 1977). Before 1800 there were no special facilities for such patients, and they were incarcerated in local prisons where, John Howard wrote, the conditions were ‘crowded and offensive because the rooms which were designed for prisoners are occupied by the insane. Where these are not kept separate they disturb and terrify other prisoners. No care is taken of them although it is probable that by medicines and proper regimen some of them might be restored to their senses and usefulness in life’.
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