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Reforming Competence Restoration Statutes: An Outpatient Model, Susan A. Mcmahon Mar 2019

Reforming Competence Restoration Statutes: An Outpatient Model, Susan A. Mcmahon

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Defendants who suffer from mental illness and are found incompetent to stand trial are often ordered committed to an inpatient mental health facility to restore their competence, even if outpatient care may be the better treatment option. Inpatient facilities are overcrowded and place the defendants on long waiting lists. Some defendants then spend weeks, months, or even years in their jail cell, waiting for a transfer to a hospital bed.

Outpatient competence restoration programs promise to relieve this pressure. But even if every state suddenly opened a robust outpatient competence restoration program, an obstacle looms: the statutes governing competence restoration ...