Study: Crime is Rarely ‘Directly Motivated’ by Mental Illness


Offenders with mental illness are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, but crimes are rarely “directly motivated by symptoms,” according to a new study in the journal Law and Human Behavior.

Researchers for the study conducted intensive interviews with 143 offenders with mental illness and examined 249 crimes, to gauge the consistency with which criminal behavior was directly related to mental illness.

Of the crimes studied, “4 percent were related directly to psychosis, 3 percent related directly to depression, and 10 percent related directly to bipolar disorder.”

The degree to which crimes were related to symptoms varied significantly as well, according to the study.

The researchers recommend that programs aiming to reduce recidivism by addressing psychiatric symptoms should also “address strong variable risk factors for crime like antisocial traits.”

Read the full report HERE.

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