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Bull Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 1989;17(4):387-400.

Follow-up after release of insanity acquittees, mentally disordered offenders, and convicted felons.

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  • 1Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, Jessup, MD 20794.


The authors compared 127 insanity acquittees in the state of Maryland with a matched prisoner control group of 127 convicted felons and a comparison group of 135 mentally disordered prisoners transferred for hospital treatment. Subjects were followed from five to 17 years after discharge from hospital or release from prison. Subsequent arrests, hospitalizations, employment, and functioning of these large cohorts were studied and compared. The study focused on outcome data at five years after release. The authors found that, at five years postrelease, 54.3 percent of the insanity acquittees, 65.4 percent of the prisoner control group, and 73.3 percent of the mentally disordered prison transfers were rearrested. At 17 years postrelease, rearrest rates increased to 65.8 percent of the insanity acquittees, 75.4 percent of the prisoner controls, and 78.4 percent of the prison transfers. Significantly more mentally disordered prison transfers than NGRIs were rehospitalized during the follow-up period. Overall, the prison transfers had significantly poorer outcomes on nearly all variables studied compared with the other two groups. The authors conclude that although there were a substantial number of rearrests among insanity acquittees, that group had a statistically significantly lower rate of criminal activity compared with the other two groups of offenders.

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