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Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1991 May;42(5):512-7.

New York State's system of managing insanity acquittees in the community.

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  • 1Policy Research Associates, Delmar, New York 12054.


New York State's Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1980 outlined specific procedures for conditional release to the community of persons found not guilty of a criminal offense by reason of insanity. To assess how well the procedures were working, the authors examined data on all clients placed on conditional release in the state between 1980 and 1987. The majority of the 331 clients so identified had been found to be dangerously mentally ill and were subsequently released to the community after extensive periods of involuntary inpatient treatment. The most common condition for community release was participation in a treatment program. While in the community, 22 percent of the clients were arrested, and 5 percent had their conditional releases revoked and were recommitted. The authors compare the New York program with similar programs elsewhere. They believe the key features of a successful program include centralized responsibility, a uniform system of treatment and supervision, and a network of community services.

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