In order to make the determination, psychiatrists must certify that the inmate would benefit from the care and treatment of a mental health facility and that if left unsupervised he could do serious harm to himself or others.
Wall said this kind of involuntary commitment assessment has happened only one other time that he knows of in the state. In that case, the psychiatrists did petition for the inmate to be committed involuntarily, but before that could happen the inmate chose to commit himself voluntarily.
Last week, Woodmansee was transferred to a Department of Corrections facility in Cranston, R.I., where he is housed in a special protective custody unit with other high-risk inmates.
He has a single cell and can interact with other protective custody inmates. They eat together in a separate dining room, and have access to the outdoors in a small courtyard.
Woodmansee has not made his wishes known as of yet. Both of his parents are dead and he has no known relatives in the South Kingstown area.
"I have no information that he wants to be released and I have no information that in the unlikely event he is released he would want to come back to this community," Vespia said. "So this is all very premature."
But premature or not, the news of Woodmansee's possible early release still hit John Foreman hard.
"I got real mad, I got angry. I got upset. I got scared. All of these emotions were going through my head," said Foreman. "I didn't know there was such a thing called early release. Parole, yes. But not early release."
Foreman, 61, got so angry that he told a radio station he would kill Woodmansee when he got out of prison.
When asked if he regretted his remarks, Foreman said, "That's not the right way to go, but I would probably do it just the same. There are no words for him."
Wall said he is in the process of hiring the psychiatrists who will review Woodmansee's case and he hopes to have their decision by later this spring.
There is also legislation being drafted to change the early release statute in Rhode Island so it would not cover killers like Michael Woodmansee.