Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 317–326 | Cite as

Assaults by Mentally Disordered Offenders in Prison: Equity and Equivalence

  • Heidi Hales
  • Amy Dixon
  • Zoe Newton
  • Annie Bartlett
Original Research


Managing the violent behaviour of mentally disordered offenders (MDO) is challenging in all jurisdictions. We describe the ethical framework and practical management of MDOs in England and Wales in the context of the move to equivalence of healthcare between hospital and prison. We consider the similarities and differences between prison and hospital management of the violent and challenging behaviours of MDOs. We argue that both types of institution can learn from each other and that equivalence of care should extend to equivalence of criminal proceedings in court and prisons for MDOs. We argue that any adjudication process in prison for MDOs is enhanced by the relevant involvement of mental health professionals and the articulation of the ethical principles underpinning health and criminal justice practices.


Mentally disordered offenders Adjudication Violence Segregation 


Compliance with ethical standards

Competing Interests

HH, ZN, and AB work as healthcare professionals in prison. AD is a prison governor.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HMYOI Cookham WoodCNWL NHS Foundation TrustRochesterUK
  2. 2.HMP HollowayLondonUK
  3. 3.HMP Holloway, CNWL NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  4. 4.PHSE, St Georges, University of LondonLondonUK

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