A study of absconding by special hospital patients: 1976 to 1988
Shubsachs, Alexander P. W.
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Absconding by Special Hospital patients is taken seriously and attracts considerable attention; however, there has been no published research on the topic. The present study looks at the demographic details of Special Hospital absconders over a 13-year period and at characteristics of the absconding events. The absconding group was compared with a control group admitted during the same period. Absconding was rare, In most cases the duration was short, with all absconders being eventually found, 33 per cent returning of their own accord. There was an excess of patients with a classification of psychopathic disorder in the absconding group and fewer with a classification of mental illness. Absconders rarely offended whilst at liberty and with two exceptions such offences were trivial in nature. There was a preponderance of patients with psychopathic disorder in the group that offended whilst at liberty. Apart from the group who offended when at large the absconsion did not seem to hinder subsequent discharge. Predictors for absconding were not found. Overall the study endorsed the security measures taken by the Special Hospitals. © 1993 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.