Comparing persons found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder for sexual offences versus nonsexual violent offences [2018]

Using data from the National Trajectory Project, we compared 50 individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) for sexual offences with 50 age- and gender-matched individuals found NCRMD for nonsexually violent offences. We also described the concurrent offenses, the symptoms at the time of the offense and the characteristics of the victims of offenders found NCRMD for sexual offences. Persons found NCRMD for sexual offences were less likely to be employed and were significantly younger at time of first psychiatric contact, but did not differ in other sociodemographic characteristics, other aspects of their psychiatric histories or in criminal history. Despite no differences in recidivism and no differences in behaviours between Review Board hearings when adjusting for unequal time at risk, persons found NCRMD for sexual offences had longer tenures under a Review Board mandate than persons found NCRMD for nonsexually violent offences. Given the many similarities between the two groups, this finding suggests that Review Boards may be unnecessarily conservative in how they manage sexual offenders.

Michael C. Seto, Marichelle C. Leclair, Catherine M. Wilson, Tonia L. Nicholls & Anne G. Crocker

Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice, Volume 24, 2018 – Issue 2