U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Children Admitted to High Security (Special) Hospital

NCJ Number
Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health Volume: 13 Issue: 4 Dated: 2003 Pages: 278-293
Claire Dimond; Martin Butwell
Date Published
16 pages
The "special hospitals" in England and Wales provide psychiatric treatment under high security for detained mentally disordered patients who pose a danger because of their violent and/or criminal propensities; this study examined the demographics and background characteristics of children admitted to these hospitals.
Data were obtained on all the patients under 18 years old who entered a special hospital for the first time between January 1, 1983, and December 31, 1999. Of these, only the patients with a Mental Health Act (1983) classification of mental illness and/or psychopathic disorder were included in the study (n=46). The data covered only the first admission of the patients. A comparison group of adults was matched with the study group on sex, legal classification of detention, and disorder under the Mental Health Act classification. The children were admitted to a special hospital for a range of offenses similar to those of the comparison group; however, the children had been convicted for criminal damage and violence at a significantly earlier age, and they were more likely than the comparison group to have experienced a change in caregiver during their childhood and to have been placed in a children's home. They were also less likely to have been living with a family member on their 16th birthday. Overall, children admitted to a special hospital had a significant degree of disruption in their childhoods compared to the comparison group, and they were involved in a significant amount of multiagency services in the course of their childhood development. In order to serve these adolescents who require high-security care, a separate service for adolescents within a special hospital might be established, or an adolescent medium-security unit could have a subunit that specializes in adolescents who require high-security care. 3 tables, 3 notes, and 40 references