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Operation Baxstrom After One Year
ROBERT C. HUNT; E. DAVID WILEY
Am J Psychiatry 1968;124:974-978.
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Box 33, Grove Station, Miami, Fla. 33133

Counsel, New York State Department of Mental Hygiene, Albany

1967-68, American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

A decision of the U. S. Supreme Court resulted in the movement of 969 "insane criminals" and "criminally insane" persons from, the hospitals of the New York State Department of Correction to the civil state hospitals of the Department of Mental Hygiene during the period March to August 1966. After one year there have been no significant problems with the patients. All have been absorbed into the general patient population, many reside on open wards, over 200 have been released, and only seven have been certified as too dangerous for a civil hospital.The experience has stimulated a variety of administrative and legislative moves toward liberalizing and improving the state's programs for the mentally ill and for offenders.The clinical experience raises questions concerning the need and the wisdom of placing the mentally ill in special security facilities solely because of their legal status. Legal circles are questioning the constitutionality of confining any mentally ill person in a prison-type facility unless there has either been conviction for an offense or special danger established by judicial determination with full due process.

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