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NCJ Number: NCJ 145911     Find in a Library
Author(s): B J Bittman ; A Convit
  Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:38  Issue:6  Dated:(November 1993)  Pages:1460-1466
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 7
  Annotation: This study determined whether a relationship exists between the nature of criminal charges and the finding of fitness among defendants evaluated at the Forensic Psychiatry Clinic servicing Manhattan.
Abstract: The researchers examined the records of 354 defendants referred to the Forensic Clinic from the New York Criminal and Supreme Courts for a competency-to-stand-trial evaluation. The study reviewed the charges in accordance with the finding of competency. The study found that in Manhattan in 1991 there were many defendants found incompetent to stand trial (45 percent). Those found incompetent to stand trial were accused of fewer severe and violent crimes than those defendants found competent to stand trial. These findings are consistent with other research that concludes persons found incompetent to stand trial have been typically charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent offenses. These findings may show a police tendency to detain mentally ill persons on trivial charges to get them off the streets. The presence of so many mentally ill persons on the streets may result from a trend toward the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and laws that permit the civil commitment only of persons diagnosed to be dangerous to themselves or others. 5 tables and 21 references
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Civil commitment ; Mentally ill offenders ; Competency to stand trial ; Criminology ; Dangerousness
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
United States of America
Grant Number: MH4762
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Country: United States of America
Language: English
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