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Compulsorily Detained Psychiatric Patients: Prisons

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL17747, tabled on 5 September 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times the courts in England and Wales used prison as a place of safety in each of the last five years.

Answered on

9 September 2019

This answer is a correction from the original answer.

Prison may be used as a ‘place of safety’ if the court is satisfied that an individual should be kept in custody for his/her own protection. This is set out under the Bail Act 1976.

Specifically, for individuals with serious mental illness, the Mental Health Act 1983 sets out that a person may be remanded in custody for between 7 and 28 days awaiting available treatment and detention in hospital.

The Ministry of Justice does not hold data on either of the circumstances set out. The decision to remand is taken by the individual sentencing court, and reasons for remand are not recorded centrally.

The Government is clear that those suffering from a mental disorder of a nature or degree that warrants treatment and detention in hospital (i.e. a severe mental disorder) should be able to access that treatment as quickly as possible. Our forthcoming response to the independent review of the Mental Health Act will address the recommendation in that context around prison as a ‘place of safety’.

Original answer

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.