TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Home from home

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The Independent Culture
In contrast to many recent stories, 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind', tonight's FIRST TUESDAY (10.40pm ITV), concentrates not on patients let out of mental health institutions, but on those kept in. Ray Wilk, Chief Executive of Wakefield Health Authority in West Yorkshire, reckons that over the years up to 40,000 people have been wrongly committed. Ruth Pitt's documentary centres on five of them. Having been abandoned by his father, 12-year-old John Silvester was put in the Stoke Park Colony for Mental Defectives in Bristol. Although not mentally ill, he spent the next 66 years in an asylum. Jimmy Laing was locked away for 50 years - just for being hyperactive. He spent 28 years in Carstairs, a hospital for the criminally insane, and was subjected to electric shock treatment and tranquillisers which left him temporarily paralysed and unable to speak.

John Drury's 'Dereliction of Duty', this week's ASSIGNMENT (7.45pm BBC2), asks if the United Nations has been negligent in Somalia. George Alagiah, who has reported from the country for the past year, examines claims that the UN pulled out of the afflicted land too early, leaving thousands to suffer at the hands of rival warlords. Both the Save the Children Fund and the Red Cross feel let down.

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