|Of the 39 NGRI acquittees for murder in the sample, only 2 were ever re-arrested after discharge. One was arrested for 3rd degree assault and the other was arrested for assault on a public safety worker (e.g., put his or her hands on a cop).|
"Only two percent of people found not guilty by reason of insanity in Connecticut the past 30 years have been rearrested while on conditional release from state supervision, according to a study by two Yale Department of Psychiatry researchers.
Michael Norko, MD, associate professor of psychiatry, and Tobias Wasser, MD, a Yale public psychiatry fellow, co-wrote a paper with four other authors that studied the records of people acquitted of crimes after being found not guilty by reason of insanity. Specifically, the researchers looked at recidivism rates of insanity acquittees.
Of the 177 people who achieved some period of conditional release from supervision – whether for a few hours, or several days – only four arrests were reported, according to the researchers. All four arrests were for misdemeanors, and two of the four charges were dismissed.
Fifty-five of the 177 people had their conditional release revoked at some point for reasons like change in psychiatric condition, non-compliant supervision or treatment, alcohol or drug use, and non-compliance with medication, according to the study.
The authors concluded the state’s methods of monitoring insanity acquittees while on conditional release are highly effective due to the low number of rearrests.
“The absence of felony arrests on (community release) is an important result in that it demonstrates that clinicians and monitoring officials were able to offer community release to acquittees without compromising public safety,” the authors wrote. “Most likely this was due to heightened scrutiny of and alertness to individual risk factors, with revocation employed swiftly when necessary to halt errant clinical and risk trajectories.”
The paper was published in the academic journal Behavioral Sciences & the Law.
The researchers also examined records of people who were discharged by the Connecticut Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB), a state agency that supervises people found not guilty by reason of insanity. Of the people who left supervision in the past three decades, 83.7 percent were not rearrested, and only 9 percent were rearrested for felonies.
PSRB reviews the status of insanity acquittees through an administrative hearing process, and orders the level of supervision and treatment necessary to protect the public. Board members represent fields of law, probation and parole, psychology, psychiatry, and victim services.
According to the study, the mean length of stay for insanity acquittees in the hospital under PSRB jurisdiction was 9.8 years, and the mean duration of their PSRB commitment was 12.9 years."