What Care for the Criminally Insane Can Teach Us About Mental Health Treatment

PORTLAND, Ore. — In the midst of a harrowing psychotic episode in summer 2009, Annie broke into her ex-husband’s house and used a hammer and scissors to lay waste to plates, knickknacks, clothing, “and honestly, I don’t know what else.”

Had the mother of four, a retired captain in the National Guard, chosen to plead guilty, as a first offender she might have gotten off with the six months she’d already spent in jail.

Instead, she chose to accept the verdict of “guilty except for insanity” — Oregon’s version of the insanity defense. For Annie, who asked that her real name not be used because she fears being stigmatized, that meant accepting state supervision until 2029, when she will be 68.  more

She has no doubt she made the right choice.

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