Prediction of Dangerousness and Release Decision Making

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Book Chapter

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criminal justice, mental health professional, review panel, community psychiatry, risk management plan

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Although personality disorders (e.g., antisocial personality) and substance use-abuse disorders are fairly common in offender populations, most offenders do not suffer from major mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, affective disorders, other psychoses) (Teplin, 1991). Similarly, most persons with major mental illness are not prone to serious violence (Swanson, 1994). Nevertheless, our society is particularly sensitized to issues surrounding the treatment, management, and release from confinement of persons whose history reveals both criminal behavior and mental disorder. Consequently, a variety of special legal rules, some quite elaborate, have been established to govern the return of offenders with mental illness to the community. Such rules inevitably, but to varying degrees, involve clinical judgments about such issues as the stability of symptoms, likely compliance with community-based treatment, risk for future violence, and the type and extent of supervision needed in the community. Therefore, the mental health professionals responsible for these judgments are often under close scrutiny by the public, the press, and the legal system itself.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Prediction of Dangerousness and Release Decision Making, in V. B. Van Hasselt & M. Hersen (Eds.), Handbook of Psychological Approaches with Violent Offenders, Springer, p. 473-492