Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Mentally Ill Aren't Major Contributors to Violence. (Refuting Public Perception)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Mentally Ill Aren't Major Contributors to Violence. (Refuting Public Perception)

Article excerpt

People with mental illness were not major contributors to criminal violence in one Canadian community over a 1-month period, reported Heather L. Stuart, Ph.D., and Dr. Julio B. Arboleda-Florez of Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.

Data collected on 1,151 inmates arrested in 1992 for a variety of crimes was re-analyzed; 91% of the inmates were male (mean age 28 years). The inmate sample is appropriate for drawing population-based inferences because it was representative of all remanded offenders in a geographically defined area, they noted.

The 1,151 inmates were charged with 4,991 crimes: 537 crimes against persons (rape, murder, assault); 1,622 nonviolent crimes against property; and 2,832 victimless crimes, such as disturbing the peace, trespassing, and motor vehicle offenses.

A total of 825 inmates agreed to be interviewed by a forensic psychiatrist within 24 hours of their arrest. Psychiatric morbidity was relatively high in this population: 703 were diagnosed with either an axis I mental disorder or an axis II personality disorder. …

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