Thursday, March 13, 2014

Unlawful detention in the UK

Appalling news from the UK:

Tens of thousands of vulnerable people are being unlawfully detained in care homes and hospitals across England and Wales, according to a damning House of Lords inquiry which concludes that legislation created to protect people with mental health conditions – including dementia and autism – has failed.

After a nine-month inquiry during which more than 60 witnesses were questioned and more than 200 written submissions received, the report concludes that vulnerable people are being let down by social workers, healthcare professionals and other carers, many of whom are often not aware of the law or how it should be enforced.

The starkest failure highlighted by the Lords was that tens of thousands of people are being wrongly “deprived of their liberty” in care homes and hospitals.

Basically state services responsible for care simply do not care about the law and are detaining people unlawfully. Meanwhile oversight is underfunded and so non-existent in practice. It a massive failure, and one which should cause deep shame to the British state.

Not that they're alone. Check out the Ombudsman's 2008-9 Annual Report, which has examples of people detained under the wrong act, and even without any paperwork authorising detention at all. This is a global problem - its just that it seems to be worse in the UK, despite a law which is strong on paper.