By their own admission psychiatrists cannot predict dangerousness

Psychiatrists often release violent patients from facilities, claiming that they are not a threat to others, or grant them privileges that lessen security procedures in place for them.

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s own Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the manual is “not sufficient to establish the existence for legal purposes of a ‘mental disorder,’ ‘mental disability,’ ‘mental disease,’ or ‘mental defect,’” in relation to competency, criminal responsibility or disability.1

The victims bear the brunt of this pseudoscience.  As Dan Rather, pointed out in 48 Hours, “Victims and their families may tell you the insanity defense is strictly a cop‐out, a legal loophole that lets killers off the hook.”8

Predicting and Understanding Criminal Behavior—“Like flipping pennies” In 1979, an American Psychiatric Association’s task force admitted in its Brief Amicus Curiae to the U.S. Supreme Court that psychiatrists could not predict dangerousness.  It informed the court that “‘dangerousness’ is neither a psychiatric nor a medical diagnosis, but involves issues of legal judgment and definition, as well as issues of social policy.  Psychiatric expertise in the prediction of ‘dangerousness’ is not established and clinicians should avoid ‘conclusory judgments in this regard.’”9

ƒ In response, the Supreme Court rendered the opinion that “the professional literature uniformly establishes that such predictions are fundamentally of very low reliability, and that psychiatric testimony and expertise are irrelevant to such predictions.  In view of these findings, psychiatric testimony on the issue of future criminal behavior only distorts the fact‐finding process.” 10

In a 1976 article in the Rutgers Law Review, authors Henry Steadman and Joseph Cocozza had also concluded, “There is no empirical evidence to support the position that psychiatrists have any special expertise in accurately predicting dangerousness.”11

With 20 more years of research to draw from, Terrence Campbell wrote in a 1994 article in the Michigan Bar Journal, “The accuracy with which clinical judgment predicts future events is often little better than random chance.  The accumulated research literature indicates that errors in predicting dangerousness range from 54% to 94%, averaging about 85%.”12

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