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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 64066 Find in a Library
Title: DANGEROUSNESS - LAW, PSYCHIATRY, AND THE ONTOGENETIC PROBLEM
Journal: CANADIAN CRIMINOLOGY FORUM  Volume:2  Issue:1  Dated:(FALL 1979)  Pages:20-30
Author(s): M A JACKSON
Corporate Author: University of Toronto
Centre of Criminology
Canada
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: THIS CANADIAN STUDY OF THE LEGAL DETERMINATION OF DANGEROUSNESS EXAMINES THE PROBLEMS INHERENT IN THE UNEASY ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE LAW AND PSYCHIATRY.
Abstract: DANGEROUSNESS, AS REFERRED TO IN LAWS AND REGULATIONS, IS A LEGAL TERM REQUIRING LEGAL DEFINITION. CURRENTLY THE LAW USES PSYCHIATRIC TERMINOLOGY SO THAT IT IS NOT CLEAR THAT THE JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS OF PSYCHIATRIC ASSESSMENTS ILLUMINATE THE JUDICIAL QUESTION. ALSO QUESTIONABLE IS A SITUATION IN WHICH PSYCHIATRIC ASSESSMENTS ARE STANDARDIZED INTO LEGALESE FOR CIVIL COMMITMENTS, ALTHOUGH THIS SEEMS TO BE THE CASE IN THE AMENDMENT TO THE ONTARIO MENTAL HEALTH ACT. THE ACT EXPANDS THE PSYCHIATRIC ASSESSMENT TO DANGEROUSNESS IN CIVIL COMMITMENT PROCEEDINGS. DANGEROUS OFFENDER LEGISLATION ALSO RELIES ON CLINICAL JUDGMENT IN MAKING RELEASE DECISIONS. IT IS WITH THE EMERGENCE OF THE PSYCHIATRIST AS EXPERT IN THE COURTROOM THAT THE PREDICTION OF DANGEROUSNESS HAS ATTAINED ITS INSUPPORTABLE PINNACLE OF CONTROL. OVERALL, ACTUAL PREDICTIONS INDICATE THAT VERY LITTLE SUPPORT EXISTS FOR PSYCHIATRIC ACCURACY IN THE PREDICTION OF DANGEROUSNESS. SUPPORT, THEREFORE SHOULD BE GIVEN TO THE PHYLOGENETIC CONSIDERATIONS OF DANGEROUSNESS, AND STUDY SHOULD BE DIRECTED TOWARD IDENTIFYING THE SITUATION CONDUCIVE TO DANGEROUS BEHAVIOR. PSYCHIATRISTS WOULD THEN NO LONGER PLAY THE MAJOR ROLE IN THE DANGEROUSNESS DETERMINATION, AND THE COURTS WOULD BE AWARE OF THE QUESTIONABLE BASIS OF ASSESSING AN INDIVIDUAL'S DANGEROUSNESS IN TERMS OF ONTOGENETIC TRAIT DIAGNOSIS. NOTES AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (MJW)
Index Term(s): Canada; Civil commitment; Court system; Dangerousness; Forensic psychiatry; Prisoner's rights; Psychiatric services
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64066

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