HC Deb 13 March 1896 vol 38 cc884-5

On behalf of the hon. member for East Wicklow, Mr. WILLIAM CORBET, I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he can say when the Bill which he recently stated the Lord Chancellor was about to bring in, dealing with proprietary lunatic asylums kept for profit will be printed, and whether it will extend to Ireland. The HON. MEMBER also asked the right hon. Gentleman, with reference to the death of Thomas Weir while under mechanical restraint in the Holloway Sanatorium, whether he was aware that mechanical restraint in the treatment of the insane was long since condemned by the highest authorities, and had been abolished in all the best-regulated asylums; whether mechanical restraint was at present used in any other asylums; and could he state the names of the asylums, if any, and the forms of restraint in use?


The terms of the Lunacy Bill are under consideration, but there is no prospect of its being ready before Easter. It will not apply to Ireland. As regards the hon. Member's second Question, I am not aware that mechanical restraint is always and in all circumstances objectionable, or that the highest authorities have condemned anything but the excessive, unnecessary, and improper employment of such restraint. I am unable to give the hon. Member the names of the asylums in which mechanical restraint is employed, but he will see, on referring to the last Report of the Lunacy Commissioners, that in 50 out of 155 institutions for the insane in this country mechanical restraint is never made use of, and that in most of the other institutions the amount of restraint used is very small, and the means generally employed are sleeved jackets or dresses and gloves. Since the death alluded to in the Question more stringent regulations in regard to the employment of mechanical restraint have been made by the Commissioners under the Act of 1890, These will be found printed as Appendix P to their last Report.