Mental Disorder and crime - Essay Example

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Mental Disorder and Crime The question for this paper is whether there is a relationship between mental disorder and crime. The answer to this question is complex because there are some situations that it may seem that there is a relationship between mental illness and crime, but the research does not always support this idea…
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Download file to see previous pages If they are too broad they may result in unnecessary intervention’ (Wilson, 1995 as quoted in Healthcare Education Services, 2006). This quote from Wilson suggests the complications that mental health carers and the courts have when they attempt to apply a definition to mental illness. There is a distinction made between mental health and mental disorder. According to Healthcare Education Services (2006) mental health and mental illness have often been used interchangeably as 'mental health refers to thoughts, feelings, and actions of the individual, all aspects of life, including social, physical, spiritual and emotional, affect it' (p. 6). The term mental disorder implies that he person has a mental illness and also has some sort of disability and has often been used as a legal definition for a variety of mental illnesses. The Department of Health (2004) defines mental disorder as ‘an impairment of, or a disturbance in, the functioning of the mind or brain resulting from any disability or disorder of the mind or brain’ (p.3). This definition was refined from the original bill that was drafted in 1983 and said that mental disorder was, ‘…mental disorder means mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic disorder and any other disorder or disability of the mind’ (as quoted in Healthcare Education Services, 2006, p. 7). ...
This definition will cover a variety of mental disorders and it can be relevant to the individual's fitness to plead guilty or not guilty, their sentencing or disposal, or the decision for the prosecutor to divert the sentence or prosecute the individual (The Crown Prosecution Service, 2010). This is the definition will be the one used for this paper because it is the one that comes from the courts. Definition of Crime The definition of crime is complex because its definition will relate to the individual's offense. Sammon (n.d.) states that the word crime is difficult to define because it covers a variety of acts that have nothing in common necessarily except that they are punishable by law if they are carried out by an individual. The easiest definition comes from the Oxford Dictionary (2011) which describes crime as a noun and defines it as 'an action or omission which constitutes offence and is punishable by law'. A crime can be anything from shoplifting to murder. Each offence has its own definition in the court system. This is a simple definition and will be used in this paper to refer to generic crimes. Crime and General Mental Disorders The challenge for both of these definitions is the fact that everything about them is dependent on the circumstances in each situation. Many people believe that a defence that states that an individual who has a mental disorder should be excused for committing a crime because at the time of the crime, they had a mental breakdown due to a mental disorder. However, the empirical evidence does not support this idea. Sirotich (2008) reviewed several studies about crime and violence to see whether there is a correlation with mental illness. He found that most of the literature suggests that the best ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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