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Crime And Mental Illness

Crime And Mental Illness






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  • In a world where crime and criminal behavior is a focal point it is important to remember there are factors that could cause crime that do not have anything to do with the crime itself. Many people commit crimes not because they have a criminal mind but because their minds are corrupted by mental illnesses that make their lives more difficult for others to understand. Psychology has become one of the most important allies against crime and criminal behavior in the last century. When one knows why it is that they behave in certain ways they become more aware of their behaviors and can better fight against the urges that may cause criminal behaviors. Mental disorders can cause a person to behavior irrationally which may cause criminal behaviors with or without the individual’s knowledge. Many mental disorders can be linked to genetic, environmental and psychological factors.
  • Many individuals who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses are often diagnosed after they have been involved in some form of criminal behavior. They are institutionalized and treated for these mental disorders. Much of the research done on mentally ill individuals is done in mental institutions and prisons because they have broken societal rules and regulations.
  • Schizophrenia may cause an individual to commit crimes that they would like not commit if they were of sound mind. Crimes such as parricide have been noted as schizophrenic crimes committed by people who have suffered from schizophrenia for many years.
  • Many people who commit crimes such as parricide do not have the social skills to function normally in our society and live with the parents after they are of legal age to live on their own. They also lack the skills to hold a normal job in the community and often do not work outside the home. Most have mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and are prescribed medications for their mental illnesses but they lack the self control to take their medication regularly and sometimes do not take their medications at all.
  • What if you could hear feel or see something but those around you can not? People with delusional disorders hear, see, and feel things that are not really there. Freeman and Garety (2004) have developed a cognitive model of the formation of persecutory delusions. They suggest that delusions begin with stresses, which are said to be ‘biological, psychological, or social’.
  • Liem and Roberts 2009 stated that depression is linked to intimate partner homicide and is not only the most common type of domestic homicide, but is also most prevalent in homicides followed by a self-destructive act (e.g., suicide or a suicide attempt).
  • In 2009 Gibbon, Ferriter, & Duggan established that compared with those with schizophrenia, patients with personality disorder had experienced higher rates of family criminality, parental separation, and multiple changes of caregiver and institutional care.  
  • Although we are gradually gaining new knowledge about these disorders it seems that criminal behaviors have become one contributing factor that may exist if one has these mental illnesses. Hopefully in the future we will know more about these mental disorders and be able to diagnosis and prevent people with these disorders from committing criminal activities due to their illnesses. We have come a long way when it comes to treating mentally ill individuals and understanding their behaviors. With rehabilitation programs and a better understanding of these illnesses one day our knowledge my dramatically reduce the cases of criminal activity by people with mental illnesses.

Crime And Mental Illness Crime And Mental Illness Presentation Transcript

  • Crime and Mental Illness
    A Psychological Perspective
    Jeannie M. Weltzin
    Argosy University
  • Mental Illness
    In 2008 Bartol states that mental illness is a disorder (some say a disease) of the mind that is judged by experts to interfere substantially with a person’s ability to cope with life on a daily basis. It presumably deprives the person of freedom of choice, but it is important to note that there are degrees to this deprivation.
  • Schizophrenia
    “Schizophrenia is the mental disorder that people most often associate with “crazy behavior,” since it frequently manifests itself in highly bizarre actions.” (Bartol 2008 p. 228)
    What if the mind of a person with a mental disorder looked like this and the path was always curved so they could never see the light at the end of the tunnel?
  • Parricide
    Parricide- Marleau 2010 defined parricide as the murder of one or more biological parents, stepparents, or adoptive parents.
    Matricide is also a form of parricide where the child murders their mother or feminine parental figure.
  • Delusional disorders
    In 2008 Bartol stated that delusional disorders (also called paranoid disorders) are characterized by the presence of one or more nonbizarre delusions that persist for at least one month.
  • Depressive Disorder
    Bartol noted in 2008 that the symptoms of depressive disorders include an extremely depressed state that lasts for at least two weeks and is accompanied by a generalized slowing down of mental and physical activity, gloom, despair, feelings of worthlessness, and perhaps frequent thoughts of suicide.
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
    The essential feature of a person with an antisocial personality disorder (APD) is a history of continuous behavior in which the rights of others are violated” (Bartol 2008 p. 235).
  • Conclusion
    In a world where crime and mental illness often come hand in hand there must be something that can be done for those who suffer from these mental illness.
    Education may be one weapon that can be used against criminal behaviors cause by the mentally ill.
    Helping those who do not understand the mentally ill may also be a very important step towards helping the mentally ill better cope in society.
  • References:
    Bartol, C.R. (2008). Criminal behavior: a psychosocial approach. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc. Retrieved From: Vital Source Bookshelf
    Gibbon, S., Ferriter, M., & Duggan, C. (2009). A comparison of the family and childhood backgrounds of hospitalised offenders with schizophrenia or personality disorder. Criminal Behaviour & Mental Health, 19(3), 207-218. doi:10.1002/cbmRetrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/55811135?accountid=34899
    Liem, M., & Roberts, D. W. (2009). Intimate partner homicide by presence or absence of a self-destructive act. Homicide Studies, 13(4), 339-354. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/742766437?accountid=34899