Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Should psychotics be allowed to watch horror films?

According to the Guardian a dangerous man in psychiatric care built up a collection of horror films while in hospital, and was accompanied to the cinema to watch horror films, before going on to rape a fourteen year-old girl - something that has played a significant part in his trial and upset relatives of the victim.

One does wonder what the hospital’s policy was. That he was also allowed to build up a collection of pornography is perhaps more perplexing. However, in the absence of any evidence that links horror films to actual violence, a hospital policy that refused access to horror films would have its basis in something other than medical science, and could possibly be an infringement of a patient’s rights.

It’s a difficult issue. Should psychiatric hospitals err on the side of caution despite the evidence, or do psychiatric patients have a right to access the same media as the rest of us? Of course, as the man in question had killed before and had a history of violence, his access to horror films may have no relevance at all.

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