Ashworth Inquiry

Ashworth Inquiry

An inquiry which began in 1996 and reported in 1999, that examined allegations that Ashworth, a high-security mental hospital in the UK, was dangerously out of control.
Per the original allegations, the hospital was awash with pornographic literature and videos, inmates had a ready supply of drugs and alcohol, and an eight-year-old girl had made regular visits, been allowed to play near a patient convicted of sex offences against children, and was being groomed as a future victim. Most of the allegations related to the Personality Disorder Unit, a block of five locked wards that housed Ashworth’s most intractable cases. By common consent among psychiatrists, offenders with personality disorders are difficult, if not impossible, to treat. This "therapeutic nihilism" fostered in the Ashworth doctors and staff a policy of containment rather than treatment; the unit was effectively run by its 115 inmates rather than the staff.
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