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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73447 Find in a Library
Title: Mentally Handicapped - Definition and Study of Their Relation With Delinquency
Journal: Revue de droit penal et de criminologie  Volume:60  Issue:5  Dated:(May 1980)  Pages:443-462
Author(s): M Addad; M Benezech
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 20
Type: Best Practice/State-of-the-Art Review
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Belgium
Annotation: The effects of mental retardation on social adaptation and on the assimilation of the behavioral norms of societal groups are possible correlates of deviance and crime, rather than mental retardation per se.
Abstract: A review of the existing literature on the criminogenic effects of mental retardation reveals that a low intelligence quotient is not a direct correlate of antisocial and criminal behavior. Crime statistics show that the percentage of mentally retarded individuals is only slightly higher among criminals than among law-abiding citizens. However, mental retardation is not simply a negative state, the immutable consequence of brain damage or organic anomalies (true retardation), or of functional disorders (pseudo-retardation). Retardation also causes a dysfunction of the faculties of cognition, volition, communication, and assimilation of experience data in its subjects. A correlation between mental retardation and psychosis cannot be denied. Criminal behavior can result from a failure on the mentally retarded assimilate intuitive and experimental data using the inductive methods of children under 7 years of age. Like infants they are totally self-centered and subjective, and lack inhibition mechanisms. Easily suggestible, they can commit crimes at the instigation of intelligent criminals. The mentally retarded are more frequently born among the lower socioeconomical strata of the population into families where alcoholism, venereal disease, mental disorders, and deviant behavior patterns are prevalent. In addition, they feel the same need for love, group acceptance, and peer appreciation as normal individuals. Baffled, frustrated, and rejected from early childhood, they may be driven to commit criminal acts if this behavior brings them the rewards of acceptance in the deviant subculture of the socially handicapped. Sixty-seven references are appended.
Index Term(s): Crime Causes; Delinquents with Disabilities; Juvenile Delinquents with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities; Offenders with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities; Persons with cognitive disabilities; Socially challenged
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