Night-time confinement, currently imposed as a blanket restriction on all patients on wards in UK high secure hospitals, constitutes an arbitrary restriction of liberty, not being based on any therapeutic purpose for those so restricted, nor serving a need for the protection of others. Its imposition constitutes a form of ‘degrading’ treatment as well as an unjustified restriction of ‘residual’ liberty. Persons who are vulnerable, especially those who are involuntarily detained as in this case, are particularly at risk of suffering human rights abuses. A compelling case can be made, based on ethics, law and accepted practice standards, for ruling out night-time confinement as an acceptable measure.
Declaration of interest