HC Deb 03 December 1987 vol 123 c677W
22. Mr. Cran

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will conduct an inquiry into those cases where convicted prisoners, who are awaiting sentence but are also mentally ill, have to spend time in prison rather than being committed to a secure or other psychiatric unit.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

No. We do not think that there are grounds for establishing a general inquiry of this kind. As my right hon. Friend stated in reply to a question from the hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Thompson) on 30 November a joint Home Office—DHSS working party was set up last year to look at the problems presented by mentally disordered offenders in prison in England and Wales, including those awaiting sentence. It made a number of recommendations, including that steps should be taken to ensure that the courts are fully aware of the non-custodial options open to them, particularly their powers of remand to hospital for report or treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983 and the facilities available in the health system. We shall be acting on these recommendations. In the meantime, if my hon. Friend has a particular case in mind, I hope he will let me know.