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Article   |    
Arrest and Incarceration of Civil Commitment Candidates
Virginia AldigéHiday
Psychiatric Services 1991; doi:
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North Carolina State University, Box 1807, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695

© 1991 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

To gauge whether more stringent civil commitment criteria have led to the criminalization of mentally ill Persons, forcing them into jails and prisons instead of treating them, a statewide sample of 1,226 civil commitment candidates in North Carolina was tracked for six months after their commitment hearings. Only 72 sample members were arrested during the period, mostly for burglary or larceny (22 arrests), simple or aggravated assault (17 arrests), and minor offenses (40 arrests), including drunkenness, trespassing, and traffic violations. Fourteen sample members were jailed, and two were sent to prison. The mentally ill who were not involuntarily hospitalized or who were hospitalized for only short periods were seldom arrested; when they were arrested, the charges were generally for nondangerous offenses.

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