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Law and Human Behavior

  • How Often and How Consistently do Symptoms Directly Precede Criminal Behavior Among Offenders With Mental Illness?

    This article is one of the first to examine the relationship between criminal activity and the influence on it over time by mental illness. The authors discuss: how often mentally ill offenders commit crimes motivated by psychiatric symptoms; legal and research definitions of direct relationships; difficulties in distinguishing between symptoms and traits; how consistent the relationship between criminal behavior and mental illness is over time-the issue of "direct crimes"; legal and research definitions of the consistency of direct relationships; and the study's implications. "[P]rograms will be most effective in reducing recidivism if they expand beyond psychiatric symptoms to address strong variable risk factors for crime like antisocial traits" (p. 439).