Secure forensic psychiatric units aim to assess, treat and rehabilitate mentally disordered offenders. Most of the people inside them suffer from severe psychotic disorders, personality disorders and substance abuse and have usually commited offences involving severe violence against the person. Between 1995 and 2001 the number of beds in NHS medium-secure units rose from 1225 to 2225 and there are proposals to increase capacity by another 29% with a similar expansion in private-sector facilities. This can often lead to concern in local communities over the offences that patients might commit when they are on supervised or unsupervised leave from their units. However a study of four medium-secure units in south-east England has found that between 1998 and 2002 only one burglary was commited by a patient on leave with no violent incidents whatsoever.
Gradillas, Vicente ... [et al] - Do forensic psychiatric inpatient units pose a risk to local communities? The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology June 2007, 18(2), 261-265