Mental Disorder and Crime

Mental illness takes on many shapes and forms, and most people who suffer from mental disorders do not commit crime. Mental conditions include aberrations such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and eating disorders. Even individuals affected by disorders that are in many ways less benign, such as depression, dissociative disorders, and schizophrenia, often never commit serious crimes. However, the majority of inmates in federal, state, and local jails and prisons in the United States suffer from some form of mental illness. Also, the population of mentally ill prisoners has increased by more than 400 percent over the past 5 years.

There is a relationship between mental disorder and crime. However, such an affinity takes on different forms. For example, an individual may ...

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