The views of psychiatric patients and their treating physicians of court-ordered compulsory hospitalization for criminal acts

Yuval Melamed, Robert Kimhi, Mike Stawski, Avner Elizur

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The legal responsibility for the mentally ill has long been a dilemma. Public opinion regarding the law which states that the mentally ill, in a psychotic state, are not responsible for their actions, is divided. The study assessed 30 psychiatric patients, committed by court order, following a criminal act on their part. No relationship was found between the nature of their offense and a psychiatric disorder. Patients who committed more serious crimes, such as murder, tended to have committed fewer criminal acts in the past. Sixty-nine percent of the patients think that the mentally ill are not responsible for their actions and 59% agreed with the judge's decision to hospitalize them. On a concrete level, over two-thirds of the patients were able to distinguish right from wrong. The treating physicians related mainly to the patients' illnesses rather than to the crimes for which they were committed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-109
Number of pages13
JournalMedicine and Law
Volume16
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

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