Mental Illness and Criminal Behavior

Many crimes have been recorded in history in the past years. A lot of them have been shown in newspapers and televisions, which show that it is an alarming fact. In lieu with this, cases of mental disorder also arise. In this research paper, we will prove that there are really cases where in mental disorder affect criminal behavior. There are several mental disorders that can cause criminal behaviors in different ways.

In a study entitled “Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System”, it was mentioned that 16% of the inmate populations in the local jails have tested to be suffering from mental illness.

Consider the disorder called “multiple personality disorder”. It is understood that once a person is inflicted with such disorder, his personality is altered by another personality that takes over every time it is needed. There may be different voices, mannerisms, memories, character traits, beliefs and desires between and among these personalities. There may be times when a person with this disorder commits a crime without him knowing what the other personality did. The other personality may be very much angry with somebody which can cause violent acts toward that person without the knowledge of the original personality (Stuart, 2003).

Schizophrenia can also affect criminal behavior in another way. A person with this disorder may have delusions and illusions. Often, during attacks of delusions, these people are not aware of what they are doing. Because of the distortion of one’s belief, being schizophrenic becomes a best excuse to commit violence and other related criminal acts (Stuart, 2003).

Alcoholism, as obvious a sit seems is one of the top ranking causes of criminal behavior in the different parts of the world. Because of the effect of the alcoholic beverages to the mind of the people, it becomes possible for them to gain too much confidence and courage in doing what they want, without thinking further if they may hurt their fellow as they do them (Stuart, 2003).

The disorders mentioned above are just examples of the manner by which they can cause criminal behavior as studied by scholars and other professionals. There are also reported cases of violent behaviors with association to other mental disorders such us, bipolar disorder (manic depression) and other psychoses.

Although there are a lot of studies showing the relationships of mental illness and the rise of criminal behaviors, scientists still say that the major causes of such behaviors are socio-demographic and socio-economic factors including age,  gender, and of lower socio-economic status. Also it as discovered, that mental illness was very much given emphasis on, which must not be the case. They must focus more on the prerequisite of the illness or the factors that provoke the development of the disease as time goes by. Moreover, they must also consider the fact that these mentally-ill individuals, aside from being violent to other people due to the incurred diseases, can also be victims of violence, since they are sometimes attacked by mental inconsistencies that make it easier for them to be harassed and abused by other people, whom we consider normal and sane.

References

  • Broom, et al. (1990). Sociology: A core text with adapted readings. Belmont: Wadsworth, Inc.
  • Meek, W. (2006). Severe mental Illness and criminal behavior. Retrieved February 11, 2009, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2006/08/10/severe-mental-illness-criminal-behavior/
  • Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System. (n.d). ). Retrieved February 11, 2009, from http://www.geocities.com/stargazers_here/mental_illness.html
  • Stanford encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Nov 30, 2001). Retrieved February 11, 2009, from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mental-illness/.
  • Stuart, H. (2003). Violence and mental illness: an overview. Retrieved from http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1525086.