n South African Journal of Psychiatry - Profile of forensic psychiatric inpatients referred to the Free State Psychiatric Complex, 2004 - 2008

Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1608-9685
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6786



An accused found unfit to stand trial and/or not criminally responsible for his/her actions because of mental illness, is declared a state patient by the court.

The aim of the study was to analyse the biographical data and relevant particulars of forensic psychiatric inpatients who were admitted to the Free State Psychiatric Complex (FSPC) according to section 42 of the Mental Health Care Act (No. 17 of 2002), from 2004 to 2008.
A descriptive, retrospective study was conducted.
One hundred and twenty forensic psychiatric inpatients admitted to the FSCP in terms of section 42 of the Mental Health Care Act during the period 2004 - 2008 were included in the study.
The majority of the offenders were male (95.8%), unmarried (83.8%) and unemployed (81.5%). The median age was 32.5 years. Most of the offences against persons were of a sexual nature (45.8%). The main offence against property was vandalism (40.6%). Most of the patients in the study had a history of abusing substances such as alcohol (74%), cannabis (66.7%), tobacco (29.6%) and glue (6.2%). More than half (55.5%) of the forensic inpatients were diagnosed with schizophrenia, followed by mental retardation (10%) and bipolar mood disorder (9.2%). Fifty-eight per cent of the participants had received treatment for a mental illness prior to the crime, and 63% were also known to have poor compliance and to have defaulted from treatment in the past. Eighty per cent of the participants reported having family or friends willing to accommodate them upon discharge.
The majority of the crimes committed were against persons, with rape being the most common. Most of the participants were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The following factors that may influence the rehabilitation, management and training programmes for state patients were identified: active symptoms of a major mental illness such as schizophrenia, current substance abuse, a history of substance abuse, seriousness of the crime committed, medication compliance, a psychiatric history, and family or friends willing to accommodate the participant upon discharge.

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