The process of criminal commitment for pretrial psychiatric examination: an evaluation

Am J Psychiatry. 1978 Jan;135(1):53-60. doi: 10.1176/ajp.135.1.53.


The authors examined the records for 1975 of 87 pretrial commitments to Worcester State Hospital under a 1971 revision of the Massachusetts law regarding such commitments. They also compiled statistics on all admissions to the hospital for 1966-1975. They found that only 2 of the 87 pretrial commitments resulted in a final court disposition of commitment and that pretrial commitments increased during 1972-1975 in contrast to a decrease in other kinds of admissions. On the basis of these findings the authors suggest that serious attention be paid to arguments that pretrial commitment serves to control and sequester deviants. Dr. Alan A. Stone comments on the authors' presentation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Civil Rights
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill*
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric
  • Humans
  • Jurisprudence* / trends
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Policy