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The impact of the Mental Health (Amendment) Act 1983 on admissions to an interim regional secure unit for mentally handicapped offenders

  • Sudip Hoare (a1) and Gregory O'Brien (a2)
Extract

The management of mentally handicapped offenders has long been problematic. Three misconceptions of the relationship between mental handicap and criminality have been widely held since the turn of the century, despite there being no conclusive evidence in their support (Jackson, 1983). These are: that mentally handicapped people are more likely than others to commit antisocial acts in general; that they have a particular predisposition to commit serious crime, especially sexual crime (Robertson, 1981); and that they are unlikely to be deterred by normal sanctions. Misunderstanding breeds misapprehension. Sadly, in the past, many mentally handicapped people were admitted to hospital after committing only trivial offences. Moreover, one Special Hospital study (Parker, 1974) found that most “severely subnormal and subnormal” detained patients actually had IQs above the category to which they had been assigned.

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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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Jackson, R. (1983) Mental retardation and criminal justice: some issues and problems. British Journal of Mental Subnormality, 29, 712.
Mayor, J., Bhate, M., Firth, H., Graham, A., Knox, P. & Tyrer, S. (1990) Facilities for mentally impaired patients: three years of experience of a semi-secure unit. Psychiatric Bulletin, 14, 333335.
Parker, E. (1974) Survey of Incapacity associated with Mental Handicap at Rampton and Moss Side Special Hospitals. Special Hospitals Research Unit Publication 11, London.
Robertson, G. (1981) The extent and pattern of crime amongst mentally handicapped offenders. Journal of the British Institute of Mental Handicap, 9, 100103.
Royal College of Psychiatrists (1980) Secure facilities for psychiatric patients - a comprehensive policy. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Turk, J. (1989) Forensic aspects of mental handicap. British Journal of Psychiatry, 155, 591594.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
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The impact of the Mental Health (Amendment) Act 1983 on admissions to an interim regional secure unit for mentally handicapped offenders

  • Sudip Hoare (a1) and Gregory O'Brien (a2)
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