Insane Sex Offenders: Psychiatric and Legal Characteristics of Sexual Offenders Found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity*

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Abstract

There is little known about sexual offenders hospitalized under forensic commitment statutes such as not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI). We conducted a chart review to delineate the demographic, clinical, and legal characteristics of NGRI sexual offenders (n = 68) committed to the California Department of State Hospitals—Napa, including 41 found NGRI for a sexual offense and 27 found NGRI for a nonsexual offense. The two groups did not differ significantly in their demographics, psychiatric diagnoses, victim characteristics, or recidivism risk as measured by the Static-99R. Those found NGRI for a sexual offense were older at the time of their first criminal and first violent offense, younger at the time of their committing offense, and had fewer prior total convictions and sexual offense convictions. These findings may indicate that sexual offenders found NGRI for a sexual offense are less antisocial than those found NGRI for a nonsexual offense.

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