Mental Illness And Crime Essay

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Criminal offenders are carry a stigma of being bad people, so they are often neglected and assumed as immoral rational beings. Unfortunately, there are cases in which these offenders suffer from mental illness which may have played a role in their deviant behavior. Approximately 14-16% of the 7.3 million people in correctional facilities suffer from serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar or major depression. (Peterson et al. 439) This article had two aims: to examine how often psychiatric symptoms relate to crimes and to test whether the relationship between symptoms and crimes is consistently amongst offenders. (Peterson et al. 441) Legal definitions vary from breadth and specificity due to minor or large discrepancies between definitions. It might be difficult to gage one way or another with offenders who claim to have a mental illness or plead insanity defense. Three examples of slightly different definitions include the M’Naughten rule, the American Law Institute’s definition, and the Durham test. (Peterson et al. 440) Mental illness in …show more content…
(Peterson et al. 440) It is difficult to make the distinction between symptoms and normative factors and then prove direct causation to a crime. There are people who exhibit some psychotic symptoms, but as a normative trait rather than a mental disorder. The researchers defined “direct crime” as one in which symptoms “immediately preceded the crime and increased its likelihood of occurrence.” (Peterson et al. 441) One finding shows that general risk factors affect both offenders with mental illness and those without. (Peterson et al. 441) It even appears as those who commit crimes on the basis of insanity sometimes commit crimes based on risk factors suffered by non-mentally ill offenders. (Peterson et al.

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