Reassessing the aftercare treatment of individuals found not guilty due to a mental disability in Hunan, China: supplemental study into the disposition of mentally ill offenders after forensic psychiatric assessment

Xiaoping Wang, Dengke Zhang, Shaoai Jiang, Yining Bai, Heather Ellis Cucolo, Michael L Perlin
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2007, 41 (4): 337-42

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present paper was to examine the disposition of individuals in Hunan, China who are found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder or defect.

METHOD: Self-developed questionnaires were mailed to the family members of 240 patients who had received forensic psychiatric evaluations at the forensic psychiatric assessment center of Central South University, between 2001 and 2002.

RESULTS: One hundred and seventy questionnaires were fully completed and returned by the patients' family members. According to the answers, 64.1% (109 patients) were found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder or defect. In 87.6% of the cases, a judgement of guilty was in agreement with the psychiatrist's recommendation concerning criminal responsibility. A total of 61.8% of the patients found not guilty were discharged to their families and did not receive any further psychiatric treatment.

CONCLUSION: In most cases, judicial decisions are consistent with a psychiatrist's opinion of criminal responsibility due to a mental disorder or defect. After such adjudication, further psychiatric treatment is often neglected due to the lack of resources and information. Hunan, China must make a continued investment into the availability and quality of outpatient mental health treatment for forensic patients after they have been discharged.

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