Mental Health and Human Rights in Secure Settings

Danny H. Sullivan and Paul E. Mullen

in Mental Health and Human Rights

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199213962
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754500 | DOI:
Mental Health and Human Rights in Secure Settings

Show Summary Details


Danny Sullivan and Paul Mullen consider the rights of those doubly stigmatized as mentally disordered and criminal. Citizens committing serious criminal offences and mentally ill people unable to protect themselves or others both forfeit some civil rights. Offending and mental illness curtail rights in the name of justice and therapy. Deinstitutionalization, intended to end coercion and exclusion, preceded a trend towards compulsory hospital admissions and community treatment orders, thus perpetuating coercion in less forbidding places. Forensic psychiatry services and secure hospitals have grown substantially. Minimal standards for these services and for mentally ill offenders are sometimes deflected by populist media outrage. The authors consider the relationship between prisons and asylums (or hospitals), and for secure mental health institutions, and the tensions between therapeutic and custodial goals and cultures. Civil commitment necessitates diagnostic or dysfunction criteria, and/or incapacity to consent, treatment refusal, treatability, and other thresholds, such as harm to self or others, least restrictive environment, and parens patriae . The authors discuss capacity-based commitment, arguments against commitment, coercive cultures, and the situation of the mentally abnormal offender: the problems of (especially compulsory) treatment in prisons, transfer to hospitals, sexuality, and political dissent. The challenges for mental health professionals of providing care are scrutinized.

Chapter.  8485 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.