Regional secure units are a relatively new facility for the treatment of mentally disordered offenders and difficult to manage patients. Their role is still evolving. Previous studies have described details of referrals and admissions to such secure units (Higgins, 1981; Gudjonsson & Mackeith, 1983; Offen & Taylor, 1985; Faulk & Taylor, 1986; Bullard & Bond, 1988). To date, however, no studies have examined changes of practice in RSUs over time. The purpose of the present study is to examine changes in the admission characteristics of patients admitted to the Butler Clinic, regional secure unit for Devon and Cornwall since it opened in 1983 to the present time.
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