To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) violent criminals, (b) sex offenders and (c) sex offenders with convictions relating to paedophilia have been released into the community from mental health facilities in each of the last five years; and what proportion have subsequently reoffended in each such year.
The Mental Health Act 1983 makes provision for mentally disordered offenders convicted of any imprisonable offence except murder to be sent to hospital for treatment for their mental disorder as an alternative to custody. The higher courts may also impose a restriction order, if this is necessary for the protection of the public from serious harm.
All offenders sentenced to a hospital order have the right to have their detention reviewed by an independent tribunal. In addition, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, my right hon. and learned Friend Mr Clarke, may discharge “restricted patients”, while “unrestricted patients” may be discharged, if their responsible clinician considers that they no longer require treatment in hospital.
Figures on the number of unrestricted patients discharged from hospital are not collated centrally. The following table sets out the number of all restricted patients discharged from hospital in each of the past five years:
|Discharges from hospital|
Systems do not enable these figures to be broken down into the categories requested.
Among all restricted patients who were discharged from hospital for the first time between 1999 and 2007, 5.8% were reconvicted within two years of their discharge.
Figures on reconviction rates for unrestricted patients are not collated centrally.
Prior to discharge from hospital, patients will have increasing access to the community by means of community leave. This is an important part of rehabilitation. No restricted patient may access the community without the permission of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will grant permission only after a thorough risk assessment based on the clinical evidence available in each case.