Outcome of patients rehabilitated through a New Zealand forensic psychiatry service: A 7.5 year retrospective study

Behav Sci Law. 2006;24(6):833-43. doi: 10.1002/bsl.740.


This paper describes a 7.5 year retrospective study of all patients discharged from inpatient forensic services to forensic community team (FCT) follow-up from the Auckland Regional Forensic Psychiatry Service. Patients' files were studied for clinical, criminal, and risk data, type of service delivered, and final level of function achieved in the community. Rearrest, re-hospitalization, and reimprisonment data were obtained from clinical, court, and prison records.105 patients were included. The most common diagnosis was a psychotic disorder, and index offending behaviour was typically violent. The median period of inpatient stay was 36 months and mean subsequent FCT follow-up 21.7 months (SD 17.8). The majority of patients were from Maori and Pacific Island ethnic groups. At the end of the study, half were in independent living, half were in some form of employment, and 19% were readmitted to a forensic hospital. One patient was rearrested but not reimprisoned whilst under forensic community team care. However, 9 of the 48 who were discharged to general mental health services were rearrested and 5 reimprisoned. Only two offences were as serious as the original index offence. Broad based assertive, mandated, and committed forensic rehabilitation can achieve high quality outcomes. These levels of function may not be sustained under less assertive care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Crime / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Crime / psychology
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Readmission / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Psychotic Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Violence / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Violence / psychology