Schizophrenia and Crime

Table of Content

Our dissertation proposal resents a problem of examination – relation between schizophrenic mental illness and recidivism crime rates. It outlines thesis of the dissertation. Proposal gives information about relation to previous research, reflections, proposed methods of study.

Research design intends inventory of abstract, acknowledgements, two chapters, conclusion and references. Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following people for their (direct and indirect) assistance in the preparation of this thesis. The first chapter contains the introduction which includes an overview of the research problem and the contribution to knowledge made in this thesis. It contains statement of the problem and purpose of research.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

The problem of relation between schizophrenic mental illness and recidivism crime rates is examined through a study of criminal episodes and personality of delinquents.What is the common factor underlying this relationship between addiction to criminality and the schizophrenic mental illness? The purpose of this study was to determine the relation between addiction to criminality and schizophrenic mental illness. The problem is of great topicality. Our basic assumption is that the mental illness which may — under favorable environmental conditions — lead to real-life asocial behavior and committing the crime is schizophrenia.

The position adopted for this study is that of a social psychology perspective.This chapter provides an outline of the key questions being examined in this thesis and presents the research problem. Research design is organised as follows: Chapter 1: contains the Introduction and background to the research problem, gives an understanding of personality factors. The purpose of this chapter is to outline the argument and present the problem within the context under examination.

Chapter 2: reviews the literature concerning the problem of relation between mental illnesses and addiction to criminality.Chapter 3: describes the detailed methodology used in answering the questions posed in Chapter One. A hypothetical research framework is used to examine issues regarding mental illnesses and addiction to criminality. To begin with we should specify our understanding of crime and schizophrenia and give operational definitions to them.

Scholars stated “crime is any act or omission prohibited by public law for the protection of the public, and made punishable by the state in a judicial proceeding in its own name (Wolfgang, Savitz and Johnston, 1962, p. 14). This term, “in a general sense, implies any act done or omitted in violation of public law, and for which the person is liable to punishment by indictment, presentment, or impeachment (Ibid)”. According to most news reports, crime rates appear to be rising in nearly every society, particularly industrialized societies and those with a large gulf between rich and poor.

It is not surprising, therefore, that psychologists along with criminologists, sociologists, lawyers, police and politicians are increasingly being called upon to comment on such incidents and to provide an explanation for what is going on.Does the psychoanalytic perspective differentiate between various categories of crime, such as violent and non-violent? It would appear so. Asch (1974) found, extreme violence is explained as an impulsive search for self-esteem. By engaging in mindless violence or destruction, the perpetrator is simply demonstrating his or her disregard for the superego or societal restrictions.

Those who engaged in serious crime scored towards the pathological end of the following scales: social responsibility, ego strength, control and social status.Although legally sane, some persistent criminals exhibit one or more psychological disorders which can range from mild to severely debilitating. Evidence of chronic or severe depression is common among perpetrators of violent crimes. Individuals suffering from serious psychological deficits such as antisocial personality disorder (commonly known as sociopaths) and from other illnesses such as paranoid schizophrenia, are found among the ranks of mass murderers.

Some recidivists and violent offenders are found to be suffering from paranoia that is both extreme and debilitating.It is not unusual to find a high degree of social isolation in the background of violent offenders, even if he or she resides with family or other loved ones. Evidence of childhood trauma, family separation, and physical or sexual abuse is often discovered in their life histories. It is a common misperception that recidivists and violent offenders spontaneously erupt in a flash point of extreme violence that has no fundamental basis or history.

On the contrary, the commission of a crime is most often the culmination of a long period of developing frustrations, stresses, anger, and personal disappointments that ultimately become intolerable.Individuals who are prone to violence frequently exhibit behavioral characteristics that, to some extent, can be isolated and identified. However, these characteristics are not necessarily predictors of violence and certainly do not evidence the potential for murder or mass murder. Rather, they represent patterns of behavior, or psychological manifestations, which may demonstrate a higher probability of violent behavior than if they were not apparent in an individual.

For example, the behavioral sciences have long recognized that an individual who has reacted violently in the past will be predisposed to do so again in the future.Therefore, a history of violent behavior may indicate an increased likelihood of future violent behavior. Other characteristics that are associated with potential violence are more subtle and not so apparent. Personality factors are integral to a scientific understanding of the nature of criminality.

Mental illnesses rank high among personality factors. Thus the next term to be defined is schizophrenia. This is a severely debilitating mental illness that is complex, often misunderstood or misdiagnosed, and difficult or impossible to treat effectively.In some forms it is accompanied by bizarre delusions or hallucinations and characterized by equally unusual, disorganized behavior and speech.

There are a range of subtypes of schizophrenia, among which is the paranoid type. Individuals suffering from this form of schizophrenia can sometimes become lethally violent and, by the standards of the layperson, would often be described as deranged. Psychologists have come a long way in understanding the psychological processes associated with different criminal acts.It was commonly held in the 1700s and 1800s that criminal behaviors could best be explained in terms of one’s ‘free will’ (Hollin, 1989) — that is, individuals somehow chose to engage in crime.

Numerous studies using standardized personality inventories have examined the role of established personality factors in explaining criminal behaviors. The psychoanalytic approach to understanding crime and delinquency is embedded in the functioning of the id and ego and, as will be pointed out below, the emotional experiences of the individual as a child.One’s inner dynamic forces predict whether one will engage in criminal activity or not (Hollin, 1989). According to this perspective, therefore, criminal behavior is viewed as the result of a conflict between the ego and the superego, or intrapsychic conflict (Asch, 1974), and is not necessarily linked to a particular personality type (such as low self-esteem or high levels of extraversion).

Even those with a ‘well-developed superego’, as Asch (1974, p. 161) calls it, can engage in criminal behavior, thereby ‘acting out forbidden impulses’ (Asch, 1974, p. 62). Martins (1991) also highlights the role of instincts by suggesting that crime and delinquency are best explained in terms of complex instinctive drives which do not appear to be responsive to education.

Scientists include impulsive behaviors and parental approval of deviant behavior. Chapter 2 The present chapter reviews important recent research into the problem. Many studies have examined the relationship between addiction to criminality and psychopathology (Carl-Gunnar, 2002; Mednick, S. A.

, Parnas, J. and Schulsinger, F. (1987).Most of these studies concluded that there are clear signs of psychopathology among famous perpetrators, and they pointed to a link between addiction to criminality and psychopathology, a link that is sometimes considered to be so powerful that it can almost predict abnormal personality for all criminality related people.

According to Eysenck and Eysenck (1976), psychopathology can be conceptualized as an exaggeration/extension of underlying personality traits. In fact, numerous studies have found a correlation between schizophrenic mental illness and trait addiction to criminality.Wessely (1997) found that, of the 253 first-episode patients, over one-third had behaved violently in the month before they were admitted to the hospital (p. 88-11).

But at the same time Rabun and Boyer (2002) claim, although “in certain circumstances there has indeed been a link between acute schizophrenic symptoms and violence” (p. 250), relationship between schizophrenia and violence is weak. Many mental health professionals even argue about existing prejudice against people diagnosed as having schizophrenia (Sayce 2000).Schizophrenics are approximately ten times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than to commit one (Brekke et al.

2001). But we are going to prove the hypothesis that certain psychological disorders such as schizophrenia are closely linked with violent behavior. We are going to provide data analysis of criminal episodes and personality of delinquents. Search for information is denominated external information search in the hypothetical framework as it excludes internal information search activity.

Chapter 3 This chapter provides breaf overview of the methodology adopted for the purpose of xamining the research problem and pilot study.The methodology adopted for this research consists of following operations: observation, gathering of information, formulation of theory, hypothesizing, data analysis and deduction. This model has been followed because it posits a scientific research methodology of hypothetical – deductive method. The scientific research paradigm has been adopted in this thesis for because the problem of relation between mental illnesses and addiction to criminality has been sufficiently explored recently that some confirmation of theory is possible.

Also?the model has elements that are capable of testing. Although some construct development has been necessary existing constructs can be used. According to our assumption, schizophrenia may lead to real-life asocial behavior and encourage committing the crime. The disorder of paranoid schizophrenia, or other dysfunctions that may be accompanied by a psychotic or delusional mental state, are often associated with aggressive or violent behavior.

Paranoia, especially if it is severe or accompanied by delusional states, is also sometimes associated with violent behavior. How schizophrenia could affect the behavior? Individuals suffering from schizophrenia may exhibit very disorganized behavior that is extreme and eccentric; or alternatively, they may react with extraordinary complacency to even the most obvious stimulation. They may also react with a wide range of behavior that varies unpredictably between these extremes.This is a mental disorder that typically attacks the individual after adolescence and most often before the age of forty.

In males, the disease is typically first exhibited in the mid-twenties and is usually slow to develop, progressing over time and manifesting itself in an increasing inability of the individual to function effectively in society. The disorder generally effects both sexes equally, although perhaps slightly favoring males. Schizophrenics are often socially dysfunctional and subject to unpredictable and extreme changes in mood and behavior.The paranoid schizophrenic is subject to overwhelming delusions or hallucinations that are marked by persistent themes of persecution and accompanied by anxiety, anger, and (sometimes) violent behavior.

The individual will frequently believe he is the victim of a wide range of conspiracies and plots that are perpetrated by both individuals known to him and complete strangers. In his or her distorted thinking process, the individual will perceive threats everywhere with everyone he encounters, and is therefore compelled to react in ways that are defensive and fearful.A unique aspect of the paranoid type of schizophrenic is that he or she will sometimes experience persistent auditory hallucinations that command him to seek revenge or retribution against those plotting against him. Often, these delusions or hallucinations will have a religious tone or theme that tell the victim he has been specially chosen to undergo and overcome the very persecution that he is experiencing.

Ironically, to the casual observer, the paranoid schizophrenic may not appear to be as ill as is truly the case.These individuals may not always exhibit some of the more obvious symptoms of other subtypes of schizophrenia, such as grossly disorganized behavior or speech. The individual suffering from paranoid schizophrenia can sometimes be violent or lethal with little or no warning. Unable to process reality in an appropriate way (psychotic), and believing that those around him are engaged in a conspiracy to deprive him of his freedom or his life, the individual suffering from this disorder can erupt with a sudden ferocity that may be brutal and overwhelming.

He may also become entangled in a long-term web of delusions and hallucinations that lead, slowly but inevitably, to violence against himself or others. Given that these delusions and hallucinations may be persistent, powerful, and bizarre, the paranoid schizophrenic can sometimes perceive life-threatening situations incessantly, and he may eventually succumb to the compelling demand to protect himself or his interests with violent behavior.Because of this disorder, the paranoid schizophrenic may view himself in the role of a savior, redeemer, or instrument of justice, who is compelled by his “voices” to exact retribution against those who threaten him, society, or even the world itself. That’s why sick persons could be dangerous to others.

The victims of paranoid schizophrenia can sometimes represent an ongoing and significant threat to themselves and others due to a lack of access to the treatment that could otherwise allow them to at least function appropriately in society.As they could claim to receive messages from God and could imagine a mission to fulfill. Raine (1993) has postulated that individuals who commit extreme forms of interpersonal violence, such as murder, are characterized by borderline personality disorder. This may include unstable interpersonal relationships, affective instability, anger and impulsivity.

The evidence we have reviewed here is very encouraging in terms of the ability of professionals to predict criminal acts. To conclude we should say the question of sanity is a legal issue, not a medical one.In the final analysis, our system of jurisprudence rarely finds a psychological disorder, regardless of its debilitating nature, as grounds for justifying crime in any form. The medical perspective is generally quite different.

Behavioral scientists often determine that criminals, violent offenders especially, were suffering from severe psychological disorders, such as paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar personality disorder, or antisocial personality disorder, at the time when they committed their crimes.The psychologist or psychiatrist may argue that the perpetrator was unable to control his behavior, or perhaps even unable to understand the ramifications of his actions, because of such a disorder. However, the American legal system takes a much narrower view of culpability, which often concludes that the perpetrator was well aware of his actions and therefore capable of making an alternative choice of behavior at the time when he committed the crime.

Cite this page

Schizophrenia and Crime. (2017, May 03). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront