Relationship Between Mental Disorder and Crime

1 January 2017

I also understand that plagiarism is an academic offence and that disciplinary action will be taken for plagiarism. | Relationship between crime and mental disorder Mental disorders have been related to crime and are being depicted over the media as dangerous and unpredictable (Tartakovsky, 2012). Pullman (2010) did an analysis of 211 females and 212 males that were in medical care and also had criminal charges. The study aimed to find the relationship between mental health and the transition from adolescent to adulthood (16 – 25 yrs) which is the most common offense period.

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Their findings were that the odds of being charged for a violent crime was increase by five times for those with conduct disorder, more than five times for substance use disorder and nine times for those with developmental disorders. So it’s no wonder that researchers are interested to find out if this is true. A crime is only a crime when society’s law is broken. Of which Seigel (2008) describes it as “Crime is a violation of societal rules of behaviour as interpreted and expressed by the criminal law, which reflects public opinion, traditional values and the viewpoint of people currently holding social and political power. So knowing what a crime is, we have to know what classifies as a mental disorder.

Kendell (2002) states that the World Health Organisation have avoided defining “diseases”, “illnesses” and “disorders” as it simply states ‘the term disorder is used throughout the classification, so as to avoid even greater problems inherent in the use of terms such as disease and illness, Disorder is not an exact term, but it is used here to imply the existence of a clinically recognisable set of symptoms or behaviour associated in most cases with distress and with interference with personal functions. Due to the existence of many mental disorders, this paper aims to find any and all relationships surrounding those suffering from schizophrenia. It will cover points such as how dangerous schizophrenic patients are as compared to general population, impulsivity in them, subgroups in schizophrenic patients in sexual or violent offense, influence of comorbidity, early versus late onset of schizophrenia, and finally victimization. To understand the relationship between schizophrenia and crime, we must first know how schizophrenia is a disorder.

For the sake of this paper, there is only the need to explain the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, which are faulty sensory interpretations such as hallucinations, delusions and thought disorder. These are known as psychotic drives which will be discussed in the later sections. Level of risk Mullen et. al. (2000) had findings that support the notion that those with schizophrenia were more likely to offend. They also found that they were not as likely to sexually offend as compared to their other offences such as violence, property damage and drug related offences.

Eriksson (2008) have also found similar results through various literature review where those with schizophrenia were twice to seven times more likely to offend violently. Impulsivity in Schizophrenic patients Enticott and colleagues (2008) have found that impulsivity have been known to be linked to violence. Their participants are from a secure psychiatric facility (n=18) and were compared to healthy participants (n=18) where there were more males then females in both groups. They were required to complete a self-report measure of impulsiveness.

They found that those that are violent offenders have shown to have elevated overall and motor impulsivity (Enticott et. al. , 2008). However, there was no association found for impulsivity and violence. This is in conflict with previous studies where they found otherwise. (Logan, Schachar, & Tannock, 1997) Hallucination and delusions is not the only motivator in sexual assaults Smith (2000) proposed that mental illness symptoms only provide partial explanation for sexual assaults as most schizophrenic patients do not sexually assault violently.

The specific hallucination or delusion that drives one to commit sexual acts was also absent in most of those that offended sexually. They focused on the male gender as most schizophrenic patients and sexual offenders are males. The MTC:R3 typology subdivides men who sexually offend into 9 different types of which the author used to categorised those with schizophrenia. MTC:R3 is based on those who do not have metal illnesses but does give some insight as to what drives those with psychotic drives(hallucinations and delusions).

They found that those with psychotic drives were sexual and non-sadistic which according to MTC:R3 description says that they frequently expressed their feelings of frustrations and desperation about their sense of social isolation, low self-esteem and inability to approach women or form intimate relationships with them. They propose that it’s due to their pre-occupation with feelings of sexual arousal or fantasy, and a desire to have physical contact with women which is the prominent factor that leads to sexual offending. Another study by Stompe et. al. 2006) aimed to find out whether environmental factors play a part in the genesis of schizophrenia and violent behaviour. Their sample was 103 of healthy participants, 103 of healthy offenders, 103 of schizophrenic non-offenders and 103 schizophrenic offenders. They found that offenders (schizophrenic or non-schizophrenic) came from lower socio-economic classes. They also found that parents suffering from schizophrenia were almost exclusive to the schizophrenic cohorts. Families with members having schizophrenia are twice as likely to have schizophrenic offenders then schizophrenic non-offenders.

They interpreted the results in 2 ways that 1) those with schizophrenic patients may have a higher genetic loading in which there is a more direct relationship between mental illness and violent/offending behaviour, or 2) that living with a parent with schizophrenia increases the chances of neglect and the exposure to criminogenic factors. Early versus late onset of schizophrenia Pederson et. al. (2010) did a study of 148 patients that were discharged where their medical files and criminal records were being compiled and reviewed.

They found that early onset group had been more frequently criminal and more versatile in their crimes prior to hospital admission than their later onset peers. Early anti-social behaviour was one of the two main independent predictors of pre-admission violence. This group had spent more than twice as much time in prison compared with the late onset group, had a poorer education history and were more often diagnosed with substance abuse disorders, overall seeming to exhibit more deep-rooted problems. Comorbidity

Grisso (2008) reviewed past research papers where he found out that there is a relationship between aggression and mental disorders. He found that there is an increased tendency toward anger, irritability, and hostility among youth with mood disorders. For example, youths with depression would be irritable and hostile as compared to adults who become sad and withdrawn. Co-morbidity of conduct disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder has been identified as increasing the likelihood of chronic and repeated offending during adolescence.

About two-thirds of those in juvenile prison have 2 or more mental disorders. The combination of depression or anxiety disorder with substance use disorder will increase the chances of serious and violent offending which is far more predictive than substance use alone. This brings the question whether does comorbidity also play a role in those with schizophrenia? A study by Silver et. al (2011) found that those diagnosed with a major mental disorder plus a substance abuse disorder, and those with a higher level of functioning and psychopathy, were more likely to offend violently.

Walsh, Buchanan and Fahy (2002) also found that comorbidity increases the probability of committing violent acts such as comorbid substance abuse and acute psychotic symptoms. Also having a mix of male gender, young age and lower socio-economic class would make the risk of violence modest as compared to having only schizophrenia. They further add that substance abuse merely increases the risk of violence and thus the risk from substance abuse seems to be additive. So it’s too quick to say that it is due to schizophrenia that causes one to be at risk of offending.

Subgroups of schizophrenia patients who offend Drake & Pathe (2004) wrote a research review paper where they try to describe precisely the possible mechanism that may drive offensive sexual behaviour in schizophrenia patients. They reviewed the roles of early childhood experiences, deviant sexual preferences, antisocial personality traits, psychiatric symptomatology and associated treatment effects, the impact of mental illness on sexual and social functioning, and other potential contributory factors.

They proposed that schizophrenic patients who engage in sexually offensive activities fall into four broad groups: (1) those with a pre-existing paraphilia; (2) those whose deviant sexuality arises in the context of illness and/or its treatment; (3) those whose deviant sexuality is one manifestation of more generalized antisocial behaviour, and (4) factors other than the above. Greenall & Jellicoe-Jones (2007) did a study of 11 men who fit into 3 criteria: Firstly, all had been convicted of a sexual offence or had engaged in antisocial sexual conduct that placed others at risk.

Secondly, all were suffering from a mental disorder as per the Mental Health Act 1983. Thirdly, all had received treatment from Lancashire Care’s forensic psychiatric service during 1998 – 2002 inclusive. They used thematic analysis on the group of 11 men and found out that there are 4 sub-groups within the groups. First group was the “anger/violence” group where they offended with angry and violent intents that were brought on by their psychosis. The second group are the “psychotic drive” group where they are driven by their positive symptoms of psychosis to offend (i. . hallucinations and disorganized thoughts). The third group is called “sexual disinhibition” where they are not able to control their sexual urges and are not led by their psychosis. The fourth and final group is called “Paedophilia” where they would do indecent assaults that are primarily motivated by sexual attraction towards children. With the above two studies, it’s clear that there might be further reasons why schizophrenic patients are more likely to sexually offend as the two studies are almost parallel in their results and grouping.

This could bring the need to further divide those who commit offences within those with schizophrenia instead of generalising it as those with schizophrenia per se. As there are other interlinking factors that could have led those with schizophrenia to offend and more so when they have a mental disorder. Victimization Even with the media portraying those with mental disorders as the bad guys, there are studies that show that they are actually more likely to be victimised than to offend (Tartakovsky 2012).

The experience of violent victimization was common in the sample of individuals with psychosis living in the community in urban UK settings; 23% reported being the victim of at least one violent act over 2 years. Prospectively, the following factors were found to increase later risk of victimization – having had previous experience of victimization, having inadequate contact with family members, having become ill at an early age and having a co-morbid Cluster B personality disorder. The risk factors identified were independent of the individuals own history of violence.

No information was available about the frequency, location or severity of victimization experiences, nor did we have information about early life adversity. The sample was drawn from urban UK centres and may not be generalizable to other settings; we lacked a control group. The main outcome measure was based entirely on self-report which may well be prone to biases. (Dean et. al. , 2007) Silver et. al. (2011) found that those who have mental disorders are more likely to be involved in bad social situations. Such as those with personality or adjustment disorder with substance abuse disorder were more likely be violently victimized.

They theorised that according to the general strain theory, that being exposed to negative stimuli, including negative feelings such as anger, may lead to violence. Such as those with mental disorders (particularly involving hallucinations and delusions) are likely to introduce negative stimuli into an environment and may invoke aggression either actor in the course of interaction. Conclusion Even though schizophrenia does have a significant association with violence, it is noted that they only make up less than 10% of societal violence (Walsh, Buchanan & Fahy, 2002).

There are findings that show that they do have an increased risk for offending. However, there are many interplaying factors such as socioeconomic status, genetics, family environment, pre- onset disorders such as paedophilia, comorbid with substance abuse disorders/ anti-social disorder/ conduct disorders. There could be a need to further divide schizophrenic offenders in order to make an effective treatment plan. Also, there could also be a need to focus the treatment around the motivator of the offense rather than the mental disorder.

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