The Legal Aspects of Conditional Release in the Criminal and Civil Court System



Naomi M. Weinstein

Behavioral Sciences & the Law

September 2014


This article considers the legal implications of conditional release in both the civil and criminal parts of the law. In the criminal context, conditional release takes the form of probation and parole. It also involves persons who are found to be incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity. In the civil context, conditional release exists for persons with mental illness and sex offenders who face mandatory outpatient treatment.

The public policy behind conditional release is to allow certain persons the least restrictive alternative with proper oversight that will prevent the person from recidivating or being re-hospitalized. Conditional release is also used as a cost-saving mechanism in response to the overwhelming costs of incarceration and hospitalization.

This article explores the issues of professional liability, third party liability, and individual rights in relation to conditional release. This article also addresses public policy concerns with conditional release and examines conditional release from a therapeutic jurisprudence perspective.






Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee