For many years the public and media have been encouraged to described those being treated at Carstairs State Hospital as ‘patients’ rather than inmates’.
However, a family, backed by their MSP, is claiming that a relative is essentially being kept a prisoner at the instituition.
A campaign has now been mounted to raise cash to secure the release from Carstairs of 31-year-old Kyle Gibbon, confined there since 2010 after being diagnosed with autism and attention deficiency disorder.
His mother has launched the campaign to raise £3,000 to fund the appeal process.
His family claim that Kyle is a disabled person trapped “with some of of Scotland’s most serious criminals”.
A spokesman for Kyle’s Aberdeenshire family said: “He did not have a criminal record when he was sent to the State Hospital but has now become institutionalised to the extent he can’t perform many tasks he did when entering the forensic care system aged 18.
“Due to the huge costs associated with obtaining independent expertise to secure his release, his mum Tracey has now launched a crowdfunding plea so Kyle won’t spend another Christmas alone.”
Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett has now sent out “a heartfelt plea for big-hearted Scots to help Tracey secure the release of Kyle, who has been inappropriately criminalised”.
He has has received information that half of under-18s sectioned under mental health legislation are autistic.
The appeal address is www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tracey-gibbon.