Violence Risk and Forensic Practice: The Case of Preventive Detention
Forensic psychiatrists assess and treat people whose mental disorders have led to their posing a risk of harm to others. Some of those people are the clients of psychiatric outpatient services and are living in the community. Others are detained in secure hospitals and prisons. Th e detention of many of the patients in secure hospitals in the U.S. has been authorized by the criminal courts. For others, the authority for their detention is “civil” and unrelated to criminal charges. Whatever the administrative mechanism, detention has usually been justifi ed in whole or in part by reference to the risk that the individual poses to other people.