The use of “safe cells” in the management of suicidal and violent prisoners

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ObjectiveTo survey psychiatrists' practice in the use of prison safe cells.MethodThe experiences, views and working protocols of Australia and New Zealand forensic psychiatrists in relation to authorisation of placement of prison inmates in safe cells were sought via a postal questionnaire.ResultsDespite a low response rate, most psychiatrists with clinical involvement in the area replied. There was a wide diversity of clinical practice, ethical standpoints, knowledge of and reference to practices in other parts of the world, and sense of priorities.ConclusionThere appears to be considerable ambivalence and some discomfort in the role that psychiatrists in Australia and New Zealand are asked to play in the placement of prisoners in safe cells.

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