Not guilty by reason of insanity (Ngbri)—theory and practice in israel

Helene Wallach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study was undertaken to examine the differences in length of mandatory confinement under NGBRI and incarceration in Israel. Data was extracted from 100 files of male patients confined by court order and released prior to the study. For each crime purportedly committed by these patients, court files of men who were incarcerated due to the relevant crime were randomly pulled from court archives and similar data was extracted from these files. Incarcerated men were younger and less educated. In addition, more minority members are incarcerated than hospitalized. Correlation between length of hospitalization and maximum jail term allowed by law was not significant. Only five crimes had enough NGBRI cases in them to allow statistical comparisons. Of these, two were significant, and in both the length of incarceration was larger. Comparing hospitalization to incarceration for the remaining crimes produces a mixed picture. The committee was stricter than the attending psychiatrist when deciding on vacations, and release. These findings indicate that the length of hospitalization does not seem to be influenced by crime severity, nor by recovery from mental illness. Unfortunately, due to small numbers of hospitalized patients who committed each crime, statistical comparisons were difficult. Further research is necessary with larger numbers of patients. If in fact our finding that mental health is not sufficient to earn release from mandatory confinement is replicated, it will become important to determine a defined, short period of time for mandatory confinement, after which the individual is released or, if still sick, and/or posing a danger to him/herself or others, is transferred to the civil confinement route.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-213
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Sep 2009


  • Insanity defense
  • Mandatory confinement
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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