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In 1966, the Supreme Court held
in Baxtrom v. Herold that mentally ill persons could not be held in a maximum security psychiatric hospital longer than a criminal sentence without a hearing on the substantive issues of that commitment. The Commonwealth responded in 1968 by holding special Superior Court hearings at the State Hospital to determine whether the patient required the care, treatment, and security of Bridgewater. As a result, over 50 percent of the long-term care patients were discharged to other mental health facilities and services.