Assessment of "danger to self and others": a study of the Mental Health Review Tribunal's interpretation of "dangerousness"

Hepworth, David Robert (1982) Assessment of "danger to self and others": a study of the Mental Health Review Tribunal's interpretation of "dangerousness". PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The general research aim was to examine the process by which the mental health review tribunal decided on the 'dangerousness' of the person before them as a basis for their judgement about release or continued detention.

Within the general context of the sociology of law, the research project was concerned with the decision-process as it operated in practice within the established socio-legal framework and its interaction with the concept and causation and social nature of deviance and 'danger'.

It was assumed that the formal-structural approach was insufficient to study and explain the decision-process in practice; so the research incorporated the study of the relationship between socio-demographic facts and the tribunal decisions, a study of the way the facts were perceived by the tribunal members, and consideration of the dilemmas and conflicts experienced in practice and innovatory action arising from anomalies in their rules and powers.

Various methods of data-collection were adopted in respect of the sample of 150 tribunal hearings held at Rampton Hospital:

a) the systematic observation of the hearing,

b) the structured interviewing of the legal chairman, and

c) structured examination of written records for details of the subject.

The findings supported the conclusions that the prescribed rules and powers of the tribunal were insufficient for the task of protecting the individual from unfair detention; and the nature of 'danger' and the social identity of the 'dangerous individual' required a response from the decision-makers beyond objective assessment of observable facts. The decision-process was shown to be a 'human-process' involving emotional and subjective reactions.

A more sufficient model of the decision-process in respect of 'danger to self and others' was developed, designed to take account of external restraints and anomalies in the system, and influences which could not be explained in strictly 'objective' terms.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Bean, P.
Marsh, D.
Keywords: Rampton Hospital, Nottinghamshire, mental health, psychiatric hospitals
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Sociology and Social Policy
Item ID: 11871
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2011 11:29
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2017 13:16

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