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Mental Diseases and Violent Offenders

Violence involves physical acts that are intended to hurt or kill.violence cause physical injury and psychological torture it is also among the twenty leading cause of disability. There are three mental disorders associated with violent criminal behaviors which include psychosis, personality and substance use.

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Psychosis This is a serious mental illness that affects the whole person’s personality (Link, & Steuve, 1994). The psychotic problems include.

Personality

People with personality disorder have psychological problems such as self esteem problems, poor interpersonal relationships and difficulty in controlling ones impulses. These disturbances combine to bring about pervasive behavior. These behaviors manifest itself in a dramatic way considered by the society un usual. Those possessing these traits are in constant conflicts with others.

Substance use

Drug addicts suffer serious mental disorders, some of the mental disorders include schizophrenia, a mental condition in which a person becomes unable to link thought ,emotion and behavior leading to withdrawal; bipolar, manic depression, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety among others.(Swanson,et al 1996) Law enforcement and the criminal justice system for those with mental illness The determination of insanity and competency for execution was left for each state to decide, however it has not prevented the execution of the many offenders. With severe and persistent mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder as federal courts have wrangled with issues of competency and sanity, at least 25 individuals with documented histories of paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other persistent and severe mental illnesses have been executed by the different states.

Countless others continue to languish on death row, waiting to be found “competent to be executed.” In the last six years, the U.S. Supreme Court has outlawed the death penalty for juvenile offenders and for persons with mental retardation. It considered these offenders to be less morally culpable and determined that their diminished capacity might impact their ability to appreciate the consequences of their actions or to participate fully in their own defense. Advocates now are addressing the fact that it is profoundly inconsistent for juveniles and people with mental retardation to be ineligible for the death penalty while offenders with severe and persistent mental illnesses are held to a higher standard of culpability. Kristin Houle’ (2008).

One of the most important differences between criminal and civil law is the chance that the defendant will lose his or her liberty. William Reid (1998). The Constitution takes loss of liberty very seriously. It accords far greater legal protections to criminal than to civil defendants. For the latter, the stakes are, in the words of some jurists, “mere money.” the government may prosecute a criminal action, and the elements of the case against the defendant must be proved beyond reasonable doubt Relying on diagnosis is a common error of clinicians who are helping to determine criminal responsibility or trial competence. There is no psychiatric diagnosis that renders a defendant incompetent or unable to be held responsible for his or her acts.The person’s specific symptoms at the time in question and, more to the point, his or her ability to do certain things at the time are the important legal issues. People with schizophrenia or bipolar illness should not be considered incompetent or not responsible nor should those with less serious diagnoses always be assumed to be competent and responsible.

Predictors of dangerous behavior

Past violent and criminal behavior occurs to people previously discharged from hospital. Children who have grown in a violent back ground and exposure to drug and highly crime neighborhood may be prone to violence.

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References

Mednick, S., Gabrielli, W. & Huchings, B. (1987). The causes of crime: New biological approaches. Cambridge: Cambridge university press. Link, B. & Stueve A. (1994). Psychotic symptoms and the violent/illegal behavior of mental patients compared to community control. In: Monahan J, Steadman H, editors. Violence and mental disorders: developments in risk assessment. Chicago(IL): University of Chicago press;

Swanson, J., Borum, R., Swartz, M. et al. (1996.) Psychotic symptoms and disorders and the risk of violent behavior in the community. Criminal behavior and Mental Health, 6(2), 317-338.

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