Psychology

Only A Small Number Of Crimes Are Committed By ‘MENTALLY ILL’ Criminals

Imagining a criminal, the first thing that crosses most people's minds usually is 'He must be a psychopath!' After all why would a person in his right mind destroy lives?
Only A Small Number Of Crimes Are Committed By 'MENTALLY ILL' Criminals

Imagining a criminal, the first thing that crosses most people’s minds usually is ‘He must be a psychopath!’ After all why would a person in his right mind destroy lives? Also, hearing about crimes committed by mentally ill people mostly comes as a big headlines in all kinds of medias, most movies depict serial killers or rapists as sufferers of dissociative identity disorder or another personality disorder. In people’s minds only a psycho could commit such offenses because he probably lacks the ability to feel empathy and remorse. But a new study contradicts these beliefs stating that it’s only 7.5% of crimes that are committed by people suffering from psychiatric disorders.

Researchers analyzed 429 crimes committed by 143 offenders with three major types of mental illnesses and found that 3 percent of their crimes were directly related to symptoms of major depression, 4 percent to symptoms of schizophrenic disorders and 10% to bipolar disorder.

The study was conducted with former defendants of a mental health court in Minneapolis, the participants completed a two-hour interview about their criminal history and mental health symptoms, covering an average of 15 years. In addition to interviews, the researchers reviewed criminal history and social worker files to help rate crimes based on their association with symptoms of schizophrenia disorders, bipolar disorder and major depression.

No predictable pattern linked criminal conduct and mental illness symptoms over time. Two thirds of the criminals who had committed crimes directly relating to their mental illness were also involved in crimes for other reasons like poverty, unemployment, homelessness and substance abuse. And no such link was found that this minority of mentally ill criminals might be repeating crimes again and again because of their symptoms.

According to the researcher, Dr. Jillian Peterson, vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent, criminal or dangerous. They also said that programs designed to reduce recidivism for mentally ill offenders should be expanded beyond mental health treatment to include those with criminal thinking, anger management and behavioral issues.

In fact, there has been a previous study that found that people with mental illnesses are at increased risk of being murder victims. This study was first ever to experiment the relation between mental disorders and crimes. More studies will be carried out of this kind to inquire if the substance abuse that interacted with mental illness can influence the criminal behavior and many others such questions that need proper experimentation to be answered.

23 comments

  1. Several other studies reveal that an overwhelming majority of the crimes were committed by people high on drugs/alcohol even to the extent that many of the incarcerated were so loaded they have no recollection of the last particular event for which they have been arrested. The world of the functional blackout has a whole other dimension.

    1. Yes, but I do agree with the conclusion of the study. Though, it’s only the future studies on the same topic that will reveal which majority of people commit the most crimes.

  2. Thank you for this post. I wonder, though, if personality disorders were included in this study–things like antisocial personality disorder or paranoid personality disorder.

    1. I don’t think so, but the research used the term ‘Mental illness’ instead of ‘depressive or schizophrenic disorders’, so it did confuse me a bit.

  3. The media makes people with mental illness seem dangerous, morally bankrupt, out of control and scary, which often is completely untrue.
    Everyone needs to read about this topic, the stigma around mental illness is a huge problem in this world. Thanks for posting!

  4. wonder what are the statistics of crimes commited against people regarded as ‘mentally ill’ becase they are vulnerable, unsure and some people arn’t aware of their problems or worse just crueal

    1. There has been some researches regarding that, I don’t know the statistics, but I think number of crimes against mentally ill people will be greater than the number of crimes committed by mentally ill people.

  5. I find this not frightfully convincing, on account of the size of the study. Again. I like these kinds of studies to be B – I – G !!! Then the figures can’t be doubted. But 429 ? – our of how many in the USA ? Nope; not persuaded at all. However ! – I don’t not think that mental illness is the cause of crime, anyway: I think it’s BADNESS. And I don’t believe for a moment that if you’re BAD it’s because you’re mentally ill !

    1. Yeah, but still if the study is carried out on a big level, the result will probably be the same. And yes, it’s not the mental illness that results in crime, there are many other socio-economic factors, like unemployment, poverty, disease, the environment a person is brought up in etc. However, I’d love to see other studies like this especially to find out the link between crime and IQ, crime and childhood abuse etc..

      1. Good then, Ghazal; you guys will be keeping an eye out for this kind of article in the future.
        imnsho, it’s the environment of rearing that’s the key …

    1. Yeah, let’s hope with the awareness people change this mentality and spreading this awareness is a big responsibility on all of us.

  6. This is what I didn’t expect, but the result of this investigation is scary but on the other hand which one is more scary I don’t know… Thanks, with my love, nia

    1. To commit a crime without getting caught, a criminal needs a proper plan and you can only plan good when your minds working properly. A schizophrenic or a depressed person cannot think same as a normal person, besides he will be too busy coping with his own problems. So, whats scary is that it’s normal people we will need to look out for!

What Do You Think?