§ Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many persons have absconded from Broadmoor and Rampton in the past 12 months; for what offences they were being held; and what disciplinary proceedings followed both for the prisoner and for the staff.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg: Since 1 October 1980, two patients have absconded from within the secure perimeter of Broadmoor hospital and one patient has absconded whilst on an outside trip. In the same period, two patients have absconded from Rampton hospital whilst on outside trips. All of these patients were detained under section 60 of the Mental Health Act 1959. Patients detained in the special hospitals, including those sent there by the courts under section 60 of the 1959 Act, are in those hospitals for treatment of their mental disorders, not as a punishment for any offence they may have committed. Their status is that of patients, and the question of taking disciplinary proceedings against patients does not therefore arise.
§ A working party is studying the circumstances of the two abscondings from within the secure perimeter at Broadmoor hospital. Its proposals for improved security are being put into operation as they arise and the findings and recommendations are expected to be complete by the end of the year. Reports relating to the other abscondings did not indicate any requirement for disciplinary proceedings against members of staff.