HC Deb 29 July 1889 vol 338 cc1574-5

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the continued increase of insanity as shown in the Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy just presented; whether he has observed that the increase for the past year is 1,697, the average annual increase for the preceding 30 years being 1,547; whether the following passage in the Report has been brought under his notice: It is to be feared that there are still many insane persons in illegal charge who, if certified and brought under official cognizance, would have swelled the number of private patients; whether he will consider if any means can be devised to arrest the spread of the disease; and what steps will be taken to find out where the persons, supposed by the Lunacy Commissioners to be illegally confined, are detained?


I am informed by the Commissioners in Lunacy that in their opinion the annual increase in the number of registered lunatics, idiots, and persons of unsound mind, as shown in the Returns, appears to be mainly due to the accumulation of chronic pauper cases. It has not been established that there is any material annual increase of fresh cases of insanity out of proportion to the increase of population. With regard to cases of illegal detention, it is the practice of the Commissioners to investigate all clues, and to take proceedings against persons found to be infringing the law. Prosecutions have usually been followed by the discovery of fresh cases previously unreported.