During the course of imprisonment, whether on remand or when serving a sentence, people sometimes need to be transferred to a psychiatric hospital. In the Republic of Ireland the only psychiatric hospital a person can be transferred to is the Central Mental Hospital (C.M.H.).
We describe 99 female prison transfers to the C.M.H. between 1983 and 1988. The mean age of the 70 sentenced prisoners was 26.43 years and that of the 29 remand prisoners was 33 years. The primary diagnoses were Schizophrenia (11), Mania (7), Depression and Stress (23), Personality Disorder (36), Mental Handicap (2) and Drug Addiction (16). The longest average stay at the hospital was for personality disorders (5 weeks). The longest sentences were for drugs offences. There were no cases of homicide or sex offences. We recommend that many of these cases could be handled in their catchment area hospital rather than in a high security Special Hospital.