All Violent Criminals Have a Mental Illness- Discuss

Essay by FoxeescotA-, November 2002

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A mental illness is a disorder of the brain that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, moods and ability to relate to others. As a result, the sufferer has a diminished capacity for coping with the demands of life. A violent crime is any criminal activity that involves a degree of violence; this could be anything from mugging to murder. I do not believe that all violent criminals have a mental illness and I think that mental illness contributes only negligibly to the reasons behind violent crimes. Saying that all violent criminals suffer from a mental illness would be turning a blind eye to the many other reasons why people commit crimes in society today.

Apparently 90% of people with current mental illnesses are NOT violent and are in fact far more likely to be the victims of violent crime. According to researchers at North Carolina State University and Duke University, people with severe mental illnesses, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis are two and a half times more likely to be attacked, raped or mugged than the general population.

However people with a severe mental illness are twice as likely as the general population to be alcoholics or use drugs as for many, it becomes a way to self-medicate. Not only does substance abuse increase a person's chance of becoming a victim, but substance abuse also makes it more likely that a person will turn violent. A study done by The MacArthur Foundation in Canada found that mentally ill people who use alcohol or drugs are five times more likely to be violent than those who don't. So while it is often a media headline that a violent crime has been committed by a person with a mental illness it is not always stated...