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A Sick System

Repeat Attacks After Pleading Insanity

Decades after the nation moved away from long-term commitment for people with mental illness, the state of Oregon has freed some people found “guilty except for insanity” in violent crimes, and they later attacked again.

Oregon Board Says Those Found Criminally Insane Rarely Commit New Crimes. The Numbers Say Otherwise.

The Psychiatric Security Review Board questioned how many people it discharged from state custody returned to crime. But it did not share its findings or change policies even as former clients killed or raped.

What Oregon Officials Knew and When They Knew It

Members of the Psychiatric Security Review Board have said it is not their duty to track what happens to people they set free. But in private, board members and staff pushed to study recidivism and found high rates among people the board frees.

He Said He Faked Mental Illness to Avoid Prison. Now, Accused in 2 Killings, He’s Sent Back to a State Hospital.

A judge ruled that Anthony Montwheeler was not competent to stand trial for an assault and two murders that prosecutors say he committed just weeks after his release from the Oregon State Hospital.

Oregon Court System Shields Evaluation of Alleged Killer

Last year, Oregon officials tried unsuccessfully to keep secret records on a man found “guilty except for insanity” in a 1996 kidnapping. Now, the state court system is refusing to release a key record in his new murder case even though it's not “legally confidential.”

Oregon Doctors Warned That a Killer and Rapist Would Likely Attack Again. Then the State Released Him.

Charles Longjaw was being held at the Oregon State Hospital after being found insane. Oregon changed its interpretation of the law and he was released, raising questions about how states manage violent offenders with mental illness.

How an Oregon Weekly Forced Release of Key Records in Murder Cases

Oregon sued a tiny newspaper to keep records secret relating to the state’s release of defendants found “guilty except for insanity.” The paper prevailed and is using the records to explore a series of troubling cases.

Oregon Board Explains Why It Repeatedly Released Killer From Psychiatric Hospital

In response to our questions, the Psychiatric Security Review Board explains why danger alone is not enough to keep violent people with mental illness under state jurisdiction.

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