OLR Research Report

May 19, 2011




By: Susan Price, Senior Attorney

The Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB) is the state agency to which the Superior Court commits persons who are found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect. These individuals are called “acquittees.” The PSRB's responsibility is to review the status of acquittees through an administrative hearing process and order the level of supervision and treatment for the acquittee that is necessary to protect the public.

1. Often it is difficult to supervise mentally ill people released in the community: ensuring that they take their medication, for example. The legislature has before it a bill that would allow for outpatient commitment of acquittees who, in PSRB's view, no longer need inpatient care. What are your views on this issue?

2. Psychiatric review boards in other states have identified a gap in their authority to discharge acquittees. Some have asked the legislature to grant them the power to transfer these individuals who no longer need treatment but remain dangerous to the corrections department for confinement for the remainder of their terms. In your view, is this a sound practice?

3. What would you consider to be the most important factors to weigh when deciding to recommend discharging an acquittee? How much consideration should be given to the victim's statements?

4. Currently, there is a debate in the professional community about the relative merits of clinical versus actuarial prediction of violent behavior in the broader context of risk assessment. Do you favor one or the other of these approaches?

5. Are there some crimes that you think, in and of themselves, should be subject to a longer PSRB commitment than other crimes? Why or why not?

6. The PSRB's annual report indicates that no acquittees who were granted conditional release were arrested while out in the community. Does this suggest that the board's release standards may be too strict?