Are pretrial commitments for forensic evaluation used to control nuisance behavior

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Antisocial Personality Disorder; Commitment of Mentally Ill; *Dangerous Behavior; Expert Testimony; Female; Forensic Psychiatry; Humans; Male; Massachusetts; Middle Aged; Referral and Consultation; Social Behavior; Social Control, Formal


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


The shift to dangerousness-oriented civil commitment criteria has led to speculation that mentally ill persons who do not meet those criteria are being hospitalized under criminal commitment statutes. Using data on patients' psychiatric symptoms at admission to a state hospital in Massachusetts, the authors retrospectively assessed whether patients charged with minor criminal offenses who were committed for evaluation of competence to stand trial would have met civil commitment criteria. The data suggest that most mentally ill patients who were criminally committed could have been civilly committed. However, a relatively greater proportion of persons with substance abuse, mental retardation, or other conditions who did not meet civil commitment criteria for mental illness were committed for pretrial evaluation.


Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1992 Jun;43(6):603-7.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Hospital and community psychiatry

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID