(Received 13 February 1975; accepted 3 June 1975)
Published Online: October
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The concept of not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI) is not simply a philosophical one dealing with courtroom drama [1,2]. Despite the attention paid to trial issues and matters of strategy and testimony, there has been a relative neglect in the study of the practical effects of current practices. The labeling process sets in motion a series of events. Generally, in the United States, a person found not guilty by reason of insanity is hospitalized either in a special state institution for the “criminally insane” or in a designated forensic unit at a state hospital. The handling, disposition, and technicalities of release are extremely varied and complex. The vagaries of release and subsequent antisocial behavior by an NGI patient (hereafter referred to as NGI) have resulted in adverse publicity far out of proportion to the numbers of people or problems involved.
Professor of psychiatry and of community medicine (legal medicine), Rutgers Medical School, College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, N.J.
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