Skip to main content
  • Oral presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Coercive measures on prison inmates with mental disorders


The EUNOMIA study has assessed the clinical practice and the legal regulations of the use of coercive measures during psychiatric admission. An add-on EUNOMIA study is the COCEHOSPE Project. Objectives: a) to study in depth the use of coercive measures on psychiatric patients at Penitentiary Centers (two of the three Penitentiary Psychiatric Hospitals in our country and three ordinary prisons); b) to know – in relationship with our laws –, the possible bioethics and legal implications, in order to develop a basic proposal suitable to be the origin for a later legal regulation about use of coercive measures, within the penitentiary system, on psychiatric patients, with respectfulness to essential rights of the person.


The study is designed exclusively for therapeutic indications and not for penitentiary reasons. In exceptional circumstances, medical treatment requires to adopt measures that can damage fundamental rights of person, like freedom or privacy. These measures are relatively frequent in the psychiatric field and may consist of involuntary admission, forced treatment, seclusion, mechanical restraint and chemical coercion. In spite of medical suitability of the coercive measure, these can be the origin of conflicts. We will analyze variables related to the applied coercive measure, such as type of measure, incidence of the measures, causes of indication, the own opinion of the patient-inmate, the opinion of medical staff, more frequently affected pathologies, timing of use and medical services characteristics. The study design has just been finished and the questionnaires to be used for data collection have been chosen: CAT, GAF, BPRS, MOAS and other scales. Expected deliverables: a) a legal analysis about the matter, b) a comparison between the practice of different centers practice, and c) to achieve a consensual protocol supported by previous deliverables.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Girela, E., López, Á. & Torres-González, F. Coercive measures on prison inmates with mental disorders. BMC Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S47 (2007).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: