Predicting treatment outcome for incompetent defendants.
R. A. Nicholson, G. W. Barnard, L. Robbins and G. Hankins,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
22(3): 367-77, 1994.
This study examined the prediction of outcome in a sample of defendants hospitalized for treatment
of incompetency. Defendants' demographic characteristics and scores on 18 scales of the
Computer-Assisted Determination of Competency to Proceed instrument (CADCOMP) were used
to predict competency restoration and length of stay (LOS). During the period of study, almost 90
percent of the defendants were restored to competency after a mean stay of over 280 days.
Demographic characteristics were unrelated to outcome. Several CADCOMP scales, including two
scales measuring psycholegal ability and one measuring psychopathology, were correlated with both
outcome criteria. Discriminant analysis using the CADCOMP scales accurately classified 76.7
percent of the defendants into short and long stay groups. Although promising, the findings are
nevertheless consistent with prior research in suggesting that examiners should exercise caution in
providing feedback to the courts concerning competency restoration and the period of time needed