Prevalence Estimates of Crime Among Persons With Mental Illness

There are many myths about people with serious mental illness. The most common myth is that people with mental illness are more likely to commit criminal acts, especially those that involve life-threatening harm to other people, particularly strangers. This view is promulgated by fictional portrayals of people with serious mental illness in films and novels as well as by sensationalized media coverage of events involving people with serious mental illness. In this entry, prevalence of criminal behavior among people with mental illness is explored, drawing on three different literatures. Each literature, at its core, explores the association between serious mental illness and offending behavior. The first literature describes the prevalence of people with serious mental illness in jails and prisons. The second, also descriptive, examines ...

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