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Differential Impact of Deinstitutionalization on White and Nonwhite Defendants Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

NCJ Number
Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Volume: 17 Issue: 3 Dated: (1989) Pages: 311-320
Date Published
10 pages
Using pre- and postdeinstitutionalization samples of defendants found incompetent to stand trial (IST) selected from three states, this study examines changes in the mental health and arrest histories of white and nonwhite ISTs.
Previous studies have reported that State mental hospital deinstitutionalization has resulted in the processing of the mentally ill through the criminal justice system. Results of this study reveal a significant increase in the number of commitments for incompetency to stand trial, especially in nonwhites. In addition, after deinstitutionalization, nonwhite ISTs had significantly more prior arrests and hospitalizations than white ISTs. There were, however, no differences in the offenses for which whites and nonwhites were arrested. It is clear that the processing of the mentally ill, particularly the nonwhite, through the mental health and criminal justice systems has changed since deinstitutionalization. 3 tables, 19 references. (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1989