Volume 28, Issue 4 (October 1983)
Judicial Oversight of Release of Patients Committed After Being Found Not Competent to Stand Trial or Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity in Violent Crimes
In 1981, North Carolina joined a growing number of states in passing legislation requiring judicial concurrence with discharge decisions for civilly committed patients who had been found either not competent to proceed to trial or not guilty by reason of insanity. The authors studied all such patients at one of North Carolina's four state mental hospitals during the first year of the new law's operation, and found that there were only 16 of them. These patients were compared to a control sample of civilly committed patients without criminal charges; it was found that the forensic patients spent longer in the hospital than the controls, but still significantly less time than reported in studies from other states. The authors discuss possible reasons for these differences and comment on the effectiveness of such legislation.