Broadmoor Hospital is one of the highest security psychiatric hospitals in the UK and it has made a series of videos that describe what goes on behind their very high walls.
Broadmoor is possibly one of the most famous or infamous hospitals in Britain – largely due to being featured in outraged media stories about ‘sick killers’.
Case in point – a typical article from the pun-obsessed UK tabloid The Sun: “Resident Wii-vil: Serial killers including the Yorkshire Ripper are enjoying £5,000 of Nintendo Wii gaming at taxpayers’ expense”).
What most of the papers miss (or ignore) is that Broadmoor is not a prison but a hospital that treats patients with severe mental disorders who became dangerous when ill.
This means it often receives patients from court cases where people with mental illness are tried for murder or violence. The verdict may be the equivalent of ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ with the patient remitted to hospital, or ‘guilty’ (meaning that the person was mentally competent when they committed the crime) with high security hospital treatment still required because mental illness increases the chance of violence.
Due to popular stereotypes and, it has to be said, its somewhat Gothic architecture (it was founded in 1863), it lives with a sort of Arkham Asylum image that is a long way from its actual work.
The videos do a great job of communicating the reality of Broadmoor Hospital and the practice of forensic mental health.
Sometimes striking, sometimes mundane and consistently interesting.