HC Deb 07 December 1972 vol 847 cc1646-7
5. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provisions he is now making for disturbed women convicted of offences requiring care and psychiatric treatment.

Mr. Carlisle

Courts already have powers to make orders enabling an offender to receive psychiatric treatment in hospital or within the community where this is medically recommended and suitable arrangements can be made. Within the prison system there are full-time medical staff with psychiatric and other specialist qualifications and experience in treating disturbed women; and consultant psychotherapists visit regularly.

Mrs. Short

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that provisions within the prison system for psychiatric treatment for women are grossly inadequate, that the service is understaffed, and that public opinion generally is incensed that women like Pauline Jones and Jacqueline Paddon are sent to Holloway and kept there for many months? Does he not think that it is high time that alternative accommodation to Holloway, and to closed prisons generally, was found for these women?

Mr. Carlisle

The hon. Lady has asked me two separate questions. To deal with the second one first, on the named cases that she has mentioned I can only repeat that it would be completely wrong if there were any power to detain a person in hospital other than on medical evidence—and no such evidence was available. As for the general point about the prison service, at Holloway there are five full-time medical officers—all of whom have psychiatric experience—and six visiting psychotherapists. Holloway is about to be rebuilt as a medically-orientated prison.

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