The Unconditional Release of Mentally Ill Offenders from Indefinite Commitment: A Study of Missouri Insanity Acquittees .

D. M. Linhorst and MSW,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 27(4): 563-579, 1999.
Using a database of all Missouri insanity acquittees committed on July 1, 1997 (N = 873) and all insanity acquittees unconditionally released from 1986 through 1997 (N= 193), this study calculated the lengths of commitment and identified variables associated with the unconditional release of insanity acquittees from indefinite commitment by the mental health and criminal justice systems. The study found that 85 percent of insanity acquittees were still under commitment 5 years after acquittal and 76 percent 10 years after acquittal. Factors that decreased the odds of being unconditionally released included never having been married; having a psychotic disorder, a mood disorder, a substance abuse disorder, or mental retardation/borderline intellectual functioning; and having committed a serious crime. These results support achievement of the intended goal of Missouri's insanity acquittee statute, which is to maximize public safety considerations, but have had the unintended effect of increasing the inpatient insanity acquittee population, resulting in fewer resources for voluntary patients.