Research the case of Albert Fentress, a former Poughkeepsie middle school teacher who murdered a former student.
This case, while horrific, highlights a particular issue when criminals with mental illness are “sentenced” to a psychiatric hospital for treatment of their psychiatric condition. Cumulatively, an individual found NGRI and sent to a mental institution may spend more time hospitalized than he/she would have spent in prison had he/she served out a prison sentence. Some say that this is a bias towards those with mental illness.
It is very rare for an individual convicted of murder to spend even half the years imprisoned as Fentress spent hospitalized.
In addition, once a criminal has served his prison sentence, even if there is a belief he is likely to reoffend, he will (almost always) be released. When someone is in a mental institution, they can continue to be held against their will if the belief is that they may reoffend.
Share your comments about whether Albert Fentress should ever be released. Is there a stigma against mentally ill individuals who commit crimes?
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