Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Psychiatric Risk Assessments for Psychotic Murderers

"He could be in our community at any time without the public's knowledge because the review board does not have the public's safety as their paramount concern."
Darcie Clarke, Coquitlam, British Columbia

"If Allan won’t be high-risk designation then who will qualify for high-risk designation?"
"Our fear is real. What he did was heinous. And he shouldn’t be able to walk the streets. He should be in care for the rest of his life."
Stacie Galt, Merritt, British Columbia
Harper and Schoenborn family
Darcie Clark's cousin Stacy Galt, left, sits with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in this February 2013 photo before he announced the Conservative government’s plan to provide courts with new powers to lock up people found not criminally responsible for their crimes due to mental problems. Darcie Clark's children Max, Cordon and Kaitlynne were killed by her ex-husband Allan Schoenborn in Merritt, B.C. in 2008. (Darryl Dyck/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

"There is nothing in the anger situation that takes him out of the regular stream. It's the psychosis risk that puts him into the high-risk. And that psychosis is under control,"
"What happens when his behaviour deteriorates, even under mental-health criteria? He is managed properly within that scheme."
"He is just a disagreeable personality who has a lot of problems with conflict management. Nobody is saying otherwise. What we're saying is, does he get to that next level?"
Rishi Gill, lawyer, Coquitlam, British Columbia
This is a man, once described by his wife Darcie Clark, as a model husband and father. Allan Schoenborn of Merritt, British Columbia however, was found not criminally responsible due to psychosis, though he was convicted of first-degree murder in 2010 for killing his daughter and two sons. After their murder he fled, leaving his wife to find the bodies of their children. He was captured after a ten-day hunt. He pleaded not guilty to the murders, was found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

Now his wife is concerned that the father of her children, who murdered them, will be free soon to re-enter society.

Ten year-old Kaitlynne was stabbed to death by her father. Her brothers, Max and Cordon, eight and five were smothered to death at the family home in Merritt, B.C., in April of 2008. Their father murdered his three children with good intentions, to save them from a life of sexual and physical abuse. The imagined abuse might have emanated from a diseased brain; it might have been interpreted by this man's own urge to abuse his children and rather than restrain himself, he killed them.

He has been undergoing treatment at the Forensic Psychiatric Hosp8ital in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Where a review board  reached a decision relating to the possibility of escorted outings for this man, alarming his wife in the potential for him to be released from incarceration. The discretion to grant escorted outings was originally agreed upon in 2015, though no such outings took place. His custodial conditions underwent no change when the outings decision was revisited and granted.

The possibility of escorted trips outside the hospital is seen as a useful mechanism to advance the treatment given to this man in the hopes of motivating his recovery. According to Crown counsel Wendy Dawson, the false hope of escorted outings could very well have an opposite effect; by persuading Schoenhorn to regard his treatment team as an obstacle to accompanied access outside the hospital grounds. The Crown also wanted the panel to ensure the hospital notify family and police of any such outings.

Escorted outings begin in a series of three assessment trips within a fifteen minute radius driving outside the hospital grounds, each lasting up to an hour's duration, with the patient not permitted to stray further than an arm's length from staff, other than when a bathroom is being used. The initial assessment completed, the next step could be for escorted outings in the company of up to eight other patients with two staff members accompanying each patient.

It's hard not to imagine the mother of three pre-teen beloved and dependent children failing to champion the release of their murderer on such trips with an eventual goal to reintegrating him into the community. Every day must surely be a nightmare of remembrance for a woman who once viewed her husband, the father of her children, as loving and trustworthy.

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