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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 191765 Find in a Library
Title: Urban Survival Syndrome: A New Defense
Journal: Law Enforcement Quarterly  Volume:30  Issue:2  Dated:Summer 2001  Pages:16-17
Author(s): George W. Clarke
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 2
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the defense of "urban survival syndrome," which argues that daily life in the battleground of many inner cities leads to a condition not unlike one already recognized in both psychological and psychiatric experience, i.e., posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Abstract: Criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD are either experiencing or closely observing a life-threatening incident; repeated re-experiencing of the event in one of a number of means; and habitual evasion of stimuli related to the incident or numbing responsiveness to various events normally associated with life. Prosecutors must be prepared to address a defense of PTSD by becoming familiar with the details of the offense; the condition and background of the offender; and the nature, extent, and meaning of the asserted disorder. Crime investigation should include as many witnesses as possible who can describe the actions of the defendant before, during, and after the offenses. Crime scene examination and reconstruction, as well as a wide variety of scientific evidence, must be used to glean as much information as possible regarding the events that occurred. Prior medical and mental examinations of the defendant, if available, are essential to equip both the prosecutor and consulting expert to rebut any spurious mental or pseudo-psychological defense.
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Defense; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Prosecution; Psychological influences on crime; Social conditions; Urban criminality
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