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All Violent Criminals Have A Mental Illness Discuss

1203 words - 5 pages

ALL VIOLENT CRIMINALS HAVE A MENTAL ILLNESSA mental illness is a disorder of the brain that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, moods and ability to relate to others. As a result, the sufferer has a diminished capacity for coping with the demands of life. A violent crime is any criminal activity that involves a degree of violence; this could be anything from mugging to murder. I do not believe that all violent criminals have a mental illness and I think that mental illness contributes only negligibly to the reasons behind violent crimes. Saying that all violent criminals suffer from a mental illness would be turning a blind eye to the many other reasons why people commit crimes in society today.Apparently 90% of people with current mental illnesses are NOT violent and are in fact far more likely to be the victims of violent crime. According to researchers at North Carolina State University and Duke University, people with severe mental illnesses, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis are two and a half times more likely to be attacked, raped or mugged than the general population. However people with a severe mental illness are twice as likely as the general population to be alcoholics or use drugs as for many, it becomes a way to self-medicate. Not only does substance abuse increase a person's chance of becoming a victim, but substance abuse also makes it more likely that a person will turn violent. A study done by The MacArthur Foundation in Canada found that mentally ill people who use alcohol or drugs are five times more likely to be violent than those who don't. So while it is often a media headline that a violent crime has been committed by a person with a mental illness it is not always stated that the person was also addicted to substance abuse which could have been the real reason for the crime.The same Canadian researchers studied 1151 violent crimes. Their studies showed that 45% of the crimes were committed by individuals who had engaged in substance (mostly alcohol) abuse, 5% by individuals with mood disorders, 2% by persons with anxiety, 2% by individuals who were psychotic and 1% by people with other mental disorders. In other words, the proportion of crimes committed by people with mental illnesses was no more than 10%.These studies provide substantial evidence that factors other than mental illness largely contribute to violent crimes and the most common factor is substance abuse.A violent crime doesn't have to be as serious as murder. Assault, manslaughter, abuse and mugging are also classified as violent crimes. However if someone was charged for assault, it is unlikely that anyone would consider that the reason for the assault was because the perpetrator suffered from a mental illness. It is really only people who commit harsh crimes such as rape and murder who are considered to be mentally ill. The reason for this is that to most civilised people these crimes are sick and brutal. Most of us feel that paedophiles must...

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