The book examines the law in action, emphasizing ways in which recent changes in case law, statutes, and public policy interact to produce the current mental health and criminal justice process. Its authors offer some insights on balancing the needs of society with the rights of the mentally ill. The first section presents background information pertaining to the laws and statutes governing treatment of the mentally disordered offender and discusses the extent to which the mentally incompetent can be held responsible for their actions. The second section considers the dynamics of intersystem processing, focusing on how changes in one component may have unintended consequences for the system as a whole. Another section deals with ways in which police classify and manage the deinstitutionalized mentally ill. The final two sections present data on how deviant behavior is defined and processed and focus on specific points in the processing of the mentally disordered offender -- conviction, incarceration, or parole.