Predicting Dangerousness Case Study

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Predicting Dangerousness When judging whether a patient is a danger to themselves the mental health professionals are often called on. They are also asked as part of the legal proceedings to determine whether people should be involuntarily hospitalized or maintained involuntarily in a mental facility. The accuracy of the judgments made by these professionals on predicting the dangerousness of these people is in question. The mental health professionals are not very accurate when it comes to predicting the dangerousness of the people they treat. They are more likely to over predict, in some cases people may be labeled as dangerous when they are not. These psychologists and psychiatrists tend to err on the side of caution when predicting…show more content…
The federal court case of Wyatt vs. Stickney in 1972 established a minimum standard of care that hospitals must provide. Ricky Wyatt was a mentally retarded young man that was not provided with any treatment and the living conditions at the hospital were dehumanizing and insufficient. The court held that the minimum provisions a mental hospital must follow are 1) A humane psychological and physical environment, 2) adequate number of qualified staff to administer adequate treatment and 3) individualized treatment plans. This court ruled that committing people to mental institutions for treatment involuntarily and then not provide proper treatment violates their rights to due process under the…show more content…
United States addresses the issue of determining the length of criminal commitment. Michael Jones was diagnoses with paranoid schizophrenia and committed to a public mental hospital until he was competent to stand trial. Jones eventually pled not guilty by reason of insanity. The maximum sentence for his crime is one year in prison. He was in the mental hospital for seven years when the Supreme Court heard his appeal. The court ruling was against Jones’s appeal. The court upheld the decision of the lower courts that he was to remain in the mental institution. This Supreme Court ruling established a principle that individuals who are acquitted by reason of insanity are looked upon as a special class and should be treated different than the civilly committed individuals. These individuals may be committed for an indefinite period of time under criteria that require a less strict level of proof of dangerousness than is ordinarily applied in cases of civil commitment. Defendants who are found not guilty by reason of insanity may remain confined to a mental institution for more years than they would have if they were found guilty and sentenced for the original crime. There is also the possibility that the defendant may be released earlier than they would have been if sentenced to

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