U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman of Washington granted the leave, which will begin as early as Aug. 5, according to court documents, and set the monitoring conditions. Hinckley will be permitted to reside full time in Williamsburg, Virginia, with his mother at her home.
He has seen an incremental in freedoms for the more than 34 years that he has been under the care of St. Elizabeth's. The Friedman decided to end Hinckley's institutionalization after determining that he no longer poses a danger to himself or others and that he has "displayed no symptoms of active mental illness, exhibited no violent behavior [and] shown no interest in weapons."
After release, he will be subject to certain conditions, and he will be required to return for monthly outpatient therapy treatment in Washington. He will also be required to work or volunteer three times a week and participate in individual music therapy sessions at least once a month in Williamsburg.
After 12 to 18 months of leave, his doctors will complete an updated risk assessment and adjust his treatment plans if that is warranted, according to court documents.
Whenever he is away from his mother's residence, he must carry a GPS-enabled cellphone that is monitored by the Secret Service. He is not allowed to drive unaccompanied and may drive only within a 30-mile radius of Williamsburg, except for his monthly appointments in Washington. He is required to abstain from alcohol and drugs. He is not allowed to own a weapon.
As a condition of his release, Hinckley must complete a daily log of his activities while on leave, detailing his work or volunteer hours, social interactions, treatments, errands and recreational activities.
Hinckley was 25 at the time of his assassination attempt, wounding Reagan, press secretary James Brady, U.S. Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy and D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty. All of them survived the attack; Brady was partly paralyzed.
A federal jury found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity in June 1982. His attorney has argued to release Hinckley from confinement for more than a decade, citing evaluations by officials at St. Elizabeth’s to prove he is no longer a threat.
Reagan died in 2004 after suffering from Alzheimer’s, and his living relatives, including his children, have opposed Hinckley's release. However, in a tweet posted today, Ronald Reagan's son Michael Reagan seemed to urge forgiveness.
In a statement, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute disagreed with Friedman's decision.
"John Hinckley is responsible for the shooting of President Reagan and three other brave men. One died two years ago from the wounds he received. Contrary to the judge's decision, we believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others, and we strongly oppose his release."
In a statement to ABC News, Barry Levine, Hinckley's attorney, said in part that they are "gratified" by the decision.
"Mr. Hinckley recognizes that what he did was horrific. But it’s crucial to understand that what he did was not an act of evil. It was an act caused by mental illness, an illness from which he no longer suffers. He is profoundly sorry for what he did 35 years ago and he wishes he could take back that day, but he can’t. And he has lived for decades recognizing the pain he caused his victims, their families, and the nation."