Incompetency to stand trial. Appropriateness and outcome

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987 Aug;44(8):754-8. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800200082012.


Of 85 persons (38% of those found incompetent to stand trial in Los Angeles County in 1983), 92% were currently charged with felonies and 62% with crimes of violence. Eighty-seven percent had a history of serious physical violence against persons and 68% had prior felony arrests. This study indicated that in this jurisdiction, incompetency to stand trial is not being used to divert mentally ill persons, charged with minor offenses, into intermediate or long-term psychiatric hospitalization to circumvent obstacles such as restrictive commitment laws and rapid hospital discharge policies. The lack of adequate postrelease planning and follow-up for most of these chronically and severely mentally ill offenders was clear. Neither the criminal justice nor the mental health system is inclined to take responsibility for their care. Mandatory community treatment on release is recommended.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • California
  • Chronic Disease
  • Community Mental Health Services / standards
  • Crime
  • Criminal Law / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Insanity Defense*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Psychotic Disorders / therapy
  • Violence