Incompetency to stand trial and mental health treatment: a case study testing the
E. Hochstedler Steury, M. Choinski and S. R. Steury,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
24(3): 319-31, 1996.
This study is a test of the so-called subversion hypothesis, which posits that mentally disordered
persons who commit minor offenses are prosecuted primarily for the purpose of imposing mental
health treatment on them through evaluation and treatment for incompetency to stand trial. These
persons, according to the subversion hypothesis, find themselves in the criminal process because they
do not meet the stringent civil commitment standards, but do meet the less stringent criteria for a
disorderly conduct prosecution. The findings, based on 893 disorderly conduct prosecutions in a
single jurisdiction over a two-year period, do not lend general support to the subversion hypothesis.