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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118929 Find in a Library
Title: Mental Disorder and Violent Crime (From Pathways to Criminal Violence, P 109-136, 1989, Neil A Weiner and Marvin E Wolfgang, eds. -- See NCJ-118925)
Author(s): R J Menzies; C D Webster
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 28
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter reviews the relationship between mental disorder and violent crime as they reflect current paradigms in criminological theory and practice and embody the ideologies and norms that guide the professional activities of judicial and clinical authorities.
Abstract: The study examines the social, political, and professional contexts in which definitions and attributions of mental disorder and criminal violence are created and applied, as well as how the construct of "dangerousness" centrally mediates the relationship between these two phenomena. Although much of the relevant research is methodologically flawed, on balance it has found little evidence of a correlation, much less a causal relationship. Apparent recent increases in violence among the mentally ill are the consequence of higher concentrations of young persons, psychopaths, and individuals with histories of criminal and violent conduct inside psychiatric hospitals. The relationship between mental disorder and criminal violence can be illuminated by analyses of patterns and structures of medical (mental health) and legal (criminal justice) institutions. Contemporary trends toward decarceration, increasing participation of mental health officials in courts and prisons, confinement of individuals in both mental health and criminal justice facilities, and selective media reporting of violence by ostensibly mentally ill persons have likely resulted in the apparent increases in serious violence with roots in mental pathology. 120 references.
Main Term(s): Mental disorders
Index Term(s): Violent crimes; Violent offenders
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