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NCJ Number: 163082 Find in a Library
Title: Mentally Disordered Offenders: The California Experience
Journal: Corrective and Social Psychiatry and Journal of Behavior Technology Methods and Therapy  Volume:41  Issue:4  Dated:(1995)  Pages:64-66
Author(s): G W Gritter
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 3
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The development of California law related to mentally disordered offenders (MDO) is discussed with respect to the social, forensic, and legal dilemmas involved.
Abstract: The California created the new legal category of mentally disordered offender in 1985. The law applied to any incarcerated offender sentenced for violence who had been diagnosed as having a severe mental disorder that had been a factor in the crime and had also been apparent and treated during imprisonment, who would soon be eligible for parole, and whose mental illness had not been brought into remission by treatment. Each such individual was to be diverted to Atascadero State Hospital for involuntary treatment. The typical MDO has poor genetic endowment, lifelong malnutrition and trauma, family and social disorganization, poor education, little or no employment, profuse drug use, extensive socialization into crime, avoidance of community resources, and intermittent and ineffective involuntary treatment. The words that characterize the MDO phenomenon are rootlessness; chemicals, including both drug abuse and confusion in psychiatric diagnosis of MDOs; and warfare of an urban guerrilla nature. Many dilemmas and absurdities are involved in the interaction between the MDO population and the dominant culture. California has made a small beginning toward recognizing and addressing this group's characteristics, and other areas undoubtedly need to do the same.
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): California; Mentally ill offenders; Offender mental health services; State laws
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