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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 1998;26(1):37-48.

Prototypes of intrafamily homicide and serious assault among insanity acquittees.

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Psychiatric Security Review Board, State of Connecticut, USA.


Public concern with societal violence is intensified when persons who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) of having committed a homicide or serious assault are returned to the community. Successful management of such acquittees in the community requires a sophisticated understanding of the person and the illness within the larger context of the violent incident, the family, the community, and the culture. In this article, we present an analysis of psychotic violence within a family context. A qualitative study of 64 subjects who were found NGRI of killing or seriously injuring a family member resulted in four prototypes of intrafamilial homicide/assault: Till Death Us Do Part; Overwhelming Burden, Elimination of the Limit Setter; and Family-Focused Delusional Killing. The prototypes are presented as a model for developing management strategies both for future risk assessment and for successful transition of the insanity acquittee into the community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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