The influence of changes in clinical factors on high‐security forensic custody dispositions
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The demand for forensic psychiatric beds is increasing, while many individuals are "stuck" in the system. Index offense severity and other legal considerations are associated with longer forensic stays but factors amenable to change such as symptoms of mental illness and aggression may also influence forensic decisions. We examined forensic review board decisions over time among 89 men admitted to a high-security forensic hospital. Almost half received a disposition to remain at their first hearing. Overall, dispositions were not associated with violence risk. The odds of a disposition to remain were higher for men with more in-hospital assaults and higher scores on a measure of clinical factors. Dispositions changed over time and this change was sensitive to clinical factors. We conclude that decisions were consistent with a cascading system of loosening security over time. Further longitudinal research following large samples through the forensic system is recommended.
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