The Doors of the Oregon State Hospital

From, May 27th 2011

LISTEN – The Doors of the Oregon State Hospital

The patients in the state’s mental hospital have landed there for a variety of reasons. A little more than half are there because they were found guilty of a crime “except for insanity.” That puts them under the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board, or PSRB.

Three bills in the Oregon State Legislature — HB 3100, HB 2701 and SB 420 — would change who goes into the Oregon State Hospital and the process by which those who do get in could ultimately get out. Bob Joondeph with Disability Rights Oregon says looking at the “front and back doors” of the hospital is long overdue. The primary tension is between public safety — which the PSRB is primarily changed with — and the needs of the patients themselves.

Two months ago, we had an hour-long conversation with the new Superintendent at the State Hospital, Greg Roberts, about the institution’s past and the broad internal changes he’s overseeing. This conversation will focus on the specific bills the legislature is considering and their implications.

Have you had experience dealing with the Psychiatric Security Review Board? Have you worked with patients who were placed at the Oregon State Hospital because they pleaded guilty except for insanity? How should the state strike the balance between treatment and public safety?


Matthew Kirby: Patient at the Oregon State Hospital, under the jurisdiction of the PSRB
Bob Joondeph: Executive director of Disability Rights Oregon
Carole: Mom of a son who has been in and out of the Oregon State Hospital
Joseph Bloom: Former head of Psychiatry at OHSU, expert on the insanity defense and the PSRB