HC Deb 03 June 1985 vol 80 cc98-9W
Mr. Irving

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he is taking to ensure that regional health authorities accept mentally disordered offenders into their care under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

We have met representatives of each regional health authority to discuss their obligation to provide a comprehensive system of care for mentally disordered people, including offenders. The Mental Health Act 1983 did not provide courts with powers to direct regional health authorities to accept a mentally disordered offender into their care, but it did provide them with power, under section 39 of the Act, to require regional health authorities to provide them with information about the facilities available, in their areas or elsewhere, for persons in respect of whom the courts are minded to make a hospital order. In 1984 regional health authorities received requests from courts in respect of 29 such offenders and few difficulties seem to have arisen in finding hospital places for offenders who were detainable under the Mental Health Act. Health authorities have no power to detain other mentally disordered offenders.