UK Police Put Mentally Ill Elderly, Kids In Jail Cells

| by Michael Allen

A police watchdog, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, in the UK, recently reported some shocking news about how police treat mentally ill elderly people and children.

The report found that the cops were often called by staffs at nursing homes and hospitals to deal with troubled seniors.

The police watchdog was called in by government official (Home Secretary) Theresa May, who told the Daily Mail:

The public would be surprised to learn that police cells are often full of vulnerable adults and children, rather than suspects accused of serious crimes.

I am particularly concerned to find that on occasions when officers were left with no other option, they resorted to detaining vulnerable people in police custody in order to get them the support they needed.

Each public service must fully discharge its responsibilities to ensure that police custody does not become the default option for vulnerable people in need of care.

The watchdog's report found that a 90-year-old man, who suffered from dementia, was turned over to police after he allegedly damaged property and was violent with the staff at his nursing home. The senior spent a night in jail before being taken to a hospital by the cops.

The Telegraph reported last year that hundreds of UK teens were locked up in jails with criminals for behavioral problems, which included mental illness.

The likely reason for the incarceration is that it saves the government health care system money. A bed in a psychiatric hospital goes for over $1,000 American dollars per day, so housing a mentally ill child or elderly person in a jail for the same amount of time is far cheaper.

Sources: The Telegraph, Daily Mail
Image Credit: Andrew Bardwell