A 69-Year-Old man is still being held in the mental hospital he was committed to in 1971 for stealing a $20 necklace.  

Franklin H. Frye was found by a court not guilty by reason of insanity after stealing a $20 necklace from a woman on the street in 1971.  He was committed to Saint Elizabeth's Hospital, where he has spent almost the past four decades.  His lawyers have been working on freeing him for years; in 2005, it was asserted by his lawyer that "Mr Frye has recovered his sanity and no longer suffers from a mental illness as defined by law." This is one of the many times Franklin Frye has sought release.  

The director of the hospital first recommended Frye's unconditional release in 1973, the court instead granted him conditional release, with permission to seek employment.  If all had gone well, Frye would have been integrated back into the community.  

It's not clear how Frye kept ending up back in the mental hospital, though one incident suggest upon release his mental condition deteriorated rapidly and he was caught with a knife in his room before being fully committed back into the mental hospital.  The report noted that he was 'intrusive and known to distort reality', yet Frye was able to hold down a 5-day-a-week position with the hospital's Work Adjustment Program.  

Frye's lawyer, Silvana Naguib says there is no reason her client should still be committed.  "In the early years of Mr. Frye's hospital interment, he would sometimes get in fights with his fellow patients, however now nearing 70, Mr. Frye displays no dangerous behavior of any kind.  Frye has permission to visit his family but is still kept full-time at the hospital.  

Saint Elizabeth's has been criticized in recent years for it's lack of adequate assessment procedure and the hospital's treatment process.  The hospital said he received a diagnosis of "Schizoaffective disorder, Bipolar Type; Alcohol Abuse and Borderline Intellectual Functioning".   This diagnosis would indicate Mr. Frye shares some symptoms with Schizophrenia and is below the range for "normal" in an IQ test.  

His stay at Saint Elizabeth's now outstrips their most famous resident, John Hinkley jr.  who was committed to the hospital in 1981 after his assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan; he has been granted a conditional release.