Tag Archives: Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board

Shocker, not: Criminally insane in Oregon commit more crimes after release from state hospital

Another reason to exercise your Second Amendment right.

From Oregon Live: About 30 percent of people found criminally insane in Oregon and then let out of supervised psychiatric treatment were charged with new crimes within three years of being freed by state officials, according to a comprehensive new analysis by ProPublica and the Malheur Enterprise.

The analysis and interviews show that Oregon releases people found not guilty by reason of insanity from supervision and treatment more quickly than nearly every other state in the nation. The speed at which the state releases the criminally insane from custody is driven by both Oregon’s unique-in-the-nation law and state officials’ expansive interpretation of applicable federal court rulings.

In Oregon, those decisions are made by the Psychiatric Security Review Board. The five-member panel of mental health and probation experts has custody of defendants found “guilty except for insanity” and oversees their treatment.

Between Jan. 1, 2008, and Oct. 15, 2015, the state freed 418 defendants who had been acquitted of felonies because they could not tell right from wrong or control their actions. About 20 percent of them, or 83 people, were charged with attacking others within three years. Thirty-five were charged with lesser crimes. Fifty others were charged more than three years later, including 30 people for violent incidents.

They were charged with felonies more often than people freed after serving prison terms — 23 percent compared to 16 percent within three years — according to the Enterprise analysis and the Oregon Department of Corrections.

The frequency of new crimes and violence startled experts who have long hailed Oregon as a leader in balancing the civil rights of patients against the need to protect the community. Many mistakenly believed that only a tiny percentage of the people released by state officials went on to commit new crimes.

“I didn’t know that,” said Dr. Landy Sparr, who directs the Forensic Psychiatry Training Program at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and has evaluated hundreds of insanity defendants in the state. “I’m totally surprised.”

One reason for Sparr’s misimpression was that the Psychiatric Security Review Board has not publicly disclosed what it has learned about this issue.

On its website, the board assures Oregonians that repeat offenses by people it supervises are exceedingly rare events, with only 0.46 percent of defendants committing new crimes each year.

That rosy statistic does not encompass the significant problem of what happens after defendants are freed, and the board knows it. Almost three years ago, internal documents show, board officials exchanged emails about the rate of crimes committed by clients released from oversight. The officials launched a preliminary study of three sample years, which found from one-third to one-half of the people freed by the board had since been arrested on new charges. They limited that search to Oregon records, which means the real number of crimes is almost certainly larger.

Those numbers are “higher than I was expecting given how well our clients do on supervision,’’ Juliet Britton, the board’s former executive director, wrote in a September 2017 email.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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