Role of Mandated Community Treatment for Justice-Involved Individuals With Serious Mental Illness

Barbara E. McDermott, Maria I. Ventura, Isah Dualan Juranek, Charles L. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Research has suggested that increased length of mandated community treatment for individuals with a serious mental disorder leads to better outcomes, but few studies have described whether these outcomes are maintained after treatment ends. The goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of court-mandated treatment on outcomes for individuals found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) and released to the community. METHODS: Ninety-three patients who were found to be NGRI participated in this study. Rearrest rates were compared for three groups: patients released to the community with court-mandated treatment (conditional release), patients who were conditionally released but later "restored to sanity" with no further court supervision, and patients released from the hospital to the community by the court with no court-imposed conditions. Patients were followed for an average of 4.83 years after discharge. RESULTS: Nearly half (43.8%) of the patients released to the community without court-mandated supervision were arrested for another offense in the study period, compared with 8.2% of patients released under the supervision of the conditional release program. In contrast, those who were restored to sanity and ultimately released unconditionally had higher arrest rates (25%). CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that court oversight on an ongoing basis may be necessary to help justice-involved individuals with a serious mental disorder avoid the criminal justice system and remain engaged in community treatment. More research is needed to determine whether these findings can be extrapolated to civil commitment procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-662
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatric services (Washington, D.C.)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • conditional release
  • mandated community treatment
  • Patient compliance
  • re-arrest rates
  • serious mental illness
  • Violence/aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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