While carrying out research in a special hospital, I encountered a small group of middle-aged patients who spent most of their time engaged in sporting activities. They had considerable freedom within the high security perimeter, and were regarded as presenting no risks, as long as they had no access to children. All were detained under the legal category of psychopathic disorder, and none of them were receiving psychiatric treatment, unless the term milieu therapy were to be stretched to include a patient's mere presence within a hospital. Their past offences were such as to lead to a shared understanding that they were unlikely ever to be released, and a compromise had been reached. The patients were aware that they enjoyed a quality of life that was as good as they could expect in the circumstances. The hospital accepted that it would have the patients for as long as their restriction orders lasted, and saw itself as providing a valuable public service by keeping them locked up.
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