Punishing the not guilty: hospitalization of persons acquitted by reason of insanity

Psychiatr Q. 1977 Fall;49(3):238-54. doi: 10.1007/BF01115319.


Some of the mystique surrounding persons acquitted of crimes on insanity grounds (NGIs) is being dispelled by arguing that they should be treated as are other mental patients in all phases of their contact institutions. The courts have moved along the road to equalization but still have a way to go. It is concluded that there is no basis for any differentiation between persons who are acquitted of crime by reason fo insanity and other civil patients with respect to commitment, treatment, and discharge. Any other approach sacrifices not only constitutional rights but also impairs the likelihood of rehabilitation and productive return to society for these patients who have been adjudge not guilty of their antisocial acts and from whom no punishment may be exacted.

MeSH terms

  • Commitment of Mentally Ill*
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Insanity Defense
  • Jurisprudence*
  • Length of Stay
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • United States