n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Mental health disorders and crime : an international comparison

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



It has been observed internationally that poor mental health is predominant amongst prisoners in correctional centres or prisons, compared to the general population. Despite various intense debates on the subject, it can be concluded that there is sufficient consensus that persons suffering from mental health disorders are more at risk to engage in offending behaviour and recidivism. Mental disorders rarely manifest in a "pure" form and psychiatric comorbidities are common. Other mental health disorders are especially aggravated by comorbid substance abuse disorders or symptoms thereof. International findings regarding the interaction between mental health disorders, offending behaviour and incarcerated offenders suffering from predominant mental health disorders was conducted and compared to empirical results gained from a South African sample of offenders diagnosed with mental health disorders. International observations pertaining to the nature of predominant mental health disorders amongst serious offenders, comorbid mental health disorders and the extended sentences these offenders tend to serve have been confirmed by research conducted by the authors.

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