During the course of imprisonment, whether on remand or when serving a sentence, people sometimes need to be transferred to a psychiatric hospital. In Ireland the only psychiatric hospital a person can be transferred to is the Central Mental Hospital (CMH).
We describe 627 prison transfers to the CMH between 1983 and 1988. The number each year varied from 99 in 1983 to 127 in 1988. The percentage on remand varied from 49% in 1984 to 31% in 1987 and 1986. The average age of sentenced prisoners was 28 years and 35 years in the case of those on remand. The diagnostic categories were as follows: Schizophrenia (31%), Reactive Depression (23%), Personality Disorder (25%), Mania (5%), Drug and Alcohol (8%) and Mental Handicap (4%). The longest average stay in the hospital was seven weeks for Mania and the shortest was three weeks for Reactive Depression. The largest proportion on remand was for Mania (79%) followed by Schizophrenia (58%). We make recommendations about legislation and the role of the catchment area psychiatric hospital.