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Mental Illness And Violent Crime Essay

1518 words - 7 pages

The stereotype that goes hand in hand with mental illness that though seems to have improved over the years is still pervasive. Teplin, Abram & McClelland (1994) state that people in general, believe that people with mental illness are more likely to commit violent crime with those without mental illness. In their study they seek to find evidence to that statement – to learn if having a mental illness increases the likeliness of violent crime and recidivism after release from prison. This author seeks to discover the same using similar data to learn if there is a connection between violent crime and mental illness.
The data gathered in the Teplin, Abram & McClelland (1994) research was conducted in the Cook county jail in Chicago during a six year period, using interview techniques during the intake process of 728 inmates. They then tracked the participants over the six years by monitoring their rap sheets. What sets this research apart from the others is that they utilized the population of a jail versus a prison. Typically, once in prison, the time spent there is long whereas in jail, the incarceration time is usually much shorter as the inmates are in jail for lesser crimes or are awaiting trial. In any case, there is a larger turnaround and more opportunity to obtain diverse long term data.
Teplin, Abram & McClelland (1994) used a control group from the jail as well as the mentally ill population, however, there had to be an already established diagnosis of mental illness in those counted for the sample. They used the independent variable of hallucinations and delusions with violence as the dependent variable which was only counted when not induced by alcohol or drug use. The researchers found that the hallucination or delusions variables only increased a little bit over the six years and suggest that psychotic symptoms may be a better predictor of violence than simply the diagnosis.
In a study about the difference gender plays among offenders with mental illness, Andel, Becker, Boaz & Constantine (2011) explore whether or not there is a distinction between the recurrence of arrest between mentally ill men and women. They monitored inmates over 4 years for the trajectory of arrests and developed three classes of arrest labels: minimal, low, and high arrest rates. The researchers explain to us that a large population of incarcerated people is mentally ill, and that of the 3,769 inmates identified with mental illness in a large county in Florida, 41% of that population was female. They determined that men were more likely to be arrested compared to their female counterparts regardless of the arrest rate classification. Women between the ages of 51 and 64 had the lowest rate of arrests but the same could not be said for the men. In addition, women with substance abuse diagnoses were more common in the medium arrest rate class than in the minimal but this also wasn’t true for the men. The researchers found large differences...

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