New bill offers control for mentally disordered offenders

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7086.1047 (Published 05 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1047
  1. D J Thompson, Consultant psychiatrista
  1. a Malham House Day Hospital, Leeds LS2 9LN

    Editor—In his recent editorial Derek Chiswick commented that clause 36 of the Crime (Sentences) Bill “runs contrary to modern concepts of psychiatric practice.”1 Central to this debate is the issue of responsibility, the extent to which a psychiatric patient can be held responsible for a criminal act. Policy in this area has followed the recommendations, in 1975, of the Butler committee: “Prosecution should be seen as a last resort,”2 which were subsequently reaffirmed by the Read review in 1992: “Wherever possible …

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