The British Journal of Psychiatry
Understanding the Italian Experience.
K Jones, A Poletti


The "Italian Experience" in closing down mental hospitals has been highly praised by some British observers, who have seen lessons for Britain in the development of community care. However, it has been the subject of heated debate in Italy--and the policy is now to be reversed by law. Two questions arise: why have the claims been exaggerated? And why have they found such ready and uncritical acceptance in Britain?