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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74690 Find in a Library
Title: Outcome of Forensic Psychiatric Assessment - A Study of Remands in Six Canadian Cities
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior  Volume:7  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1980)  Pages:471-480
Author(s): R J Menzies; C D Webster; B T Butler; R E Turner
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Canada Department of Justice
Ottawa ON K1A 0H8, Canada
Law Foundation of Ontario

University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Forensic psychiatric assessments in six Canadian municipal courts were examined in order to compare and contrast forensic assessments across different Canadian jurisdictions.
Abstract: The study focused on the purposes of court referrals, statutes used for psychiatric remands, forensic patients, characteristics, diagnoses and recommendations by clinicians, and the relationship between recommendations and judicial outcomes. Summaries completed by court psychiatrists on 248 cases were reviewed. The defendants referred for review were demographically and socioeconomically marginal. Over half were charged with property offenses. Psychosis was diagnosed in 39.4 percent of the referrals; however, the psychiatrists may have equated this disorder with incompetency. The psychiatrists found 84.7 percent of the patients competent to stand trial. The psychiatrists' estimates of their patients' current and potential danger to society varied from city to city. The psychiatrists recommended outpatient treatment for 40 percent of their patients, prison for 14 percent, and additional analysis for 10 percent. No recommendations were made in 14 percent of the cases. A total of 34 percent of the patients identified in an 18 month followup study had been given probation, 30 percent were sent to jail, 14 percent were sent to a Federal prison, and 8 percent were sent to a hospital. Recommendations for custodial care resulted in imprisonment in 73 percent of the cases. Hospitalization recommendations resulted in in-patient care 59 percent of the time. Results partially supported labeling theorists' critiques of forensic assessment and indicated that there are social control elements in what is ostensibly a purely evaluative procedure. Results also indicated that assessment has substantial impact on the individual's subsequent treatment. Findings suggested that the relationship between the medical and legal professions should be more generally evaluated. A table and 27 references are included.
Index Term(s): Canada; Comparative analysis; Forensic psychiatry; Studies
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