HC Deb 04 May 1989 vol 152 cc231-2W
Mr Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research is being carried out, or is planned, into the circumstances and treatment of mentally disordered rapists in prison and into ways of seeking to prevent them from reoffending.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

There is no research being carried out, or planned, which is solely concerned with mentally disordered rapists. However, a certain amount of research is being carried out (separately) on mentally disordered offenders and sexual offenders which may, inter alia, provide some information about mentally disordered rapists and possible ways of preventing them reoffending.

With regard to research on mentally disordered offenders, I refer the hon. Member to the reply to a question by the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) on 20 March 1989 at columns 405–06

As to research on sex offenders, the Institute of Psychiatry is carrying out a study of sex offenders in prisons. The purpose of this study (the results of which should be available later this year) is to try to identify factors in sex offenders' histories which appear to distinguish them from other types of offender and non-offender populations. It will be particularly concerned with rapists. The study may help in making decisions about which types of sexual offender are likely to benefit from treatment and which are not.

Mr Malcolm Cowburn of the Nottingham probation service is carrying out an investigation and evaluation of the work being undertaken with sex offenders (including rapists) in prisons in England and Wales. The results of this study should also be available this year.

Consideration is being given by the Department to carrying out a study of convicted rapists. The purpose of the study would be to describe the offenders and their offences in detail and to assess their treatment needs. A history of mental disorder would be noted as part of that description.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many men are currently serving a sentence of imprisonment for rape; and what proportion of such prisoners are mentally disordered.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

On 30 June 1988 about 1,070 males were serving sentences for rape offences, including attempted rape, in prison service establishments in England and Wales. Information on the number who are mentally disordered is not recorded centrally.