Change to the Fullest Potential

Doing What Works in the Forensic Context

Authored by: Heather M. Moulden , Casey Myers

Handbook of Forensic Mental Health Services

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138645943
eBook ISBN: 9781315627823
Adobe ISBN:


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Whether it has always been the case, or if screening has simply improved, those with mental illness are overrepresented in our criminal justice systems. North American correctional institutions have reported disproportionate rates of psychiatric disorder, up to three times more than the general population (Abracen et al., 2014; Steadman, Osher, Robbins, Case, & Samuels, 2009). Similar trends have been observed in the forensic psychiatric arena, where in Canada there has also been a steady increase in those found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCRMD; Simpson et al., 2014). Historically, correctional and forensic psychology have been viewed as different, albeit overlapping, realms, with distinct and distinguishable populations. However, with increased awareness, and thus analysis, of the mental health needs of justice-involved individuals, there is greater acknowledgment that these groups overlap far more than was previously appreciated. In fact, justice-involved individuals with mental illness possess the same general risk factors for criminality as their non-mentally ill counterparts (Andrews & Bonta, 2010a; Skeem, Steadman, & Manchak, 2015), which can be accurately measured and effectively predict future offending (Canales, Campbell, Wei, & Totten, 2014). The question is no longer mad or bad, but rather how does mental illness contribute to, maintain, and interact with risk for criminal behavior.

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