Attitudes of courts, physicians and psychiatric committees to court-ordered psychiatric hospitalization

Y. Melamed, A. Elizur, R. Kimchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Legal responsibility for the mentally ill has long been a dilemma. Public opinion with regard to the current law, which holds that the mentally ill are not responsible for their actions, is divided. We assessed 30 cases of psychiatric patients committed by court order following a criminal act. No relation was found between the nature of the transgression and the nature or seriousness of the psychiatric disorder. Interestingly, those who committed the more serious crimes, such as murder, usually had committed fewer criminal acts in the past. The functioning of the psychiatric committees in charge of releasing patients committed by court order has improved substantially under the new law for the treatment of the mentally ill. They now assess patients with considerably greater frequency. The reports to the courts of examining physicians tend to be general, with little attempt to differentiate ability to stand trial and responsibility for actions. On the other hand, treating physicians relate mainly to the patient's illness, rather than to the crime for which he was committed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-481, 491
JournalHarefuah
Volume126
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Apr 1994
Externally publishedYes

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