Analyzing Offense Patterns as a Function of Mental Illness to Test the Criminalization Hypothesis
ABSTRACT Programs for offenders with mental illness seem to be based on a hypothesis that untreated symptoms are the main source of criminal behavior and that linkage with psychiatric services is the solution. This study tested this criminalization hypothesis, which implies that these individuals have unique patterns of offending.
Participants were 220 parolees; 111 had a serious mental illness, and 109 did not. Interview data and records were used to reliably classify offenders into one of five groups, based on their lifetime pattern of offending: psychotic, disadvantaged, reactive, instrumental, or gang- or drug-related affiliation. The distributions of those with and without serious mental illness were compared.
A small but important minority of offenders with a mental illness (7%, N=8) fit the criminalization hypothesis, in that their criminal behavior was a direct result of psychosis (5%, N=6) or comprised minor "survival" crimes related to poverty (2%, N=2). However, the reactive group contained virtually all offenders with a mental illness (90%, N=100) and the vast majority of offenders without a mental illness (68%, N=74), suggesting that criminal behavior for both groups chiefly was driven by hostility, disinhibition, and emotional reactivity. For most offenders with a mental illness in the reactive group, crime was also driven by substance dependence.
Offenders with serious mental illness manifested heterogeneous patterns of offending that may stem from a variety of sources. Although psychiatric service linkage may reduce recidivism for a visible minority, treatment that targets impulsivity and other common criminogenic needs may be needed to prevent recidivism for the larger group.
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to cast a vision for the next generation of behavioral health and criminal justice interventions for persons with serious mental illnesses in the criminal justice system. The limitations of first generation interventions, including their primary focus on mental health treatment connection, are discussed. A person–place framework for understanding the complex factors that contribute to criminal justice involvement for this population is presented. We discuss practice and research recommendations for building more effective interventions to address both criminal justice and mental health outcomes.International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 09/2014; 37(5):427-438. DOI:10.1016/j.ijlp.2014.02.015 · 1.19 Impact Factor
Psychology Public Policy and Law 01/2015; 21(1):72-84. DOI:10.1037/law0000031 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There is strong evidence that major mental disorders (MMDs), particularly psychoses, are a risk factor for future violence. Yet important questions remain about how the mere presence of symptoms of MMD increases the likelihood of violent behaviour. Specifically, although we know much about how MMDs are risk factors for violence, we know very little about the risk mechanisms for these behaviours in persons with MMDs. A risk mechanism is a process through which a risk factor increases the likelihood of violent behaviour. In other words, risk mechanisms explain the causes of behaviour because they answer how and why a potential (i.e., risk factor) for violence can transform into actuality. Psychotic motives may be a key risk mechanism in MMD because the phenomenology of psychotic symptoms may explain how and why symptoms drive a person to engage in violent behaviour (e.g., a person commits homicide in response to persecutory delusions involving the victim). Understanding the nature and prevalence of psychotic motivation has the potential to elucidate not only key risk mechanisms of MMD, but also the extent to which “conventional” versus symptom-based motivations exist among people with MMD who engage in violence. This latter concern is important given that motivation can inform and give a framework for evaluations of criminal responsibility. Some headway is being been made on understanding the nature of psychotic motivation for violent behaviour, however far more research has been conducted on the prevalence of this phenomenon. Numerous studies across disparate literatures have reported the proportion of psychotic motivations for violent behaviour in people with MMD. In this context, a systematic review and meta-analytic integration of these studies would be useful to unify these various literatures. To date, there are only narrative reviews of small segments of this research, with the exception of two systematic reviews concerning only studies of command hallucinations. Such a comprehensive review and quantitative integration will provide clinicians and policy makers with a more accurate understanding of the prevalence of psychotic motivations for violent behaviour in people with MMDs and will provide a basis for further research on the risk mechanisms of MMDs.