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There are sound public policy reasons for considering a reform of state laws concerning commitment of insanity acquittees. A balanced system of special commitment can protect the public safety and, at the same time, give acquittees a fair hearing on their current mental condition and continuing need for confinement. Special commitment can also insulate general commitment laws from political pressures that can arise from the prospect of the possible release of notorious insanity acquittees. Several of the recently proposed model reforms, however, have features that commend them to the attention of state legislators. The Oregon model of using a Psychiatric Security Review Board instead of courts in making commitment and release decisions will be attractive to legislators in some states. Whether a state chooses to use judges or an administrative body to make these decisions, it may find that the ABA Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards represent a balanced approach to the problem of committing insanity acquittees.

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The Catholic University Law Review



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disability law



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