Population-based studies on violent crime and background factors may provide an understanding of the relationships between susceptibility factors and crime. We aimed to determine the distribution of violent crime convictions in the Swedish population 1973-2004 and to identify criminal, academic, parental, and psychiatric risk factors for persistence in violent crime.
The nationwide multi-generation register was used with many other linked nationwide registers to select participants. All individuals born in 1958-1980 (2,393,765 individuals) were included. Persistent violent offenders (those with a lifetime history of three or more violent crime convictions) were compared with individuals having one or two such convictions, and to matched non-offenders. Independent variables were gender, age of first conviction for a violent crime, nonviolent crime convictions, and diagnoses for major mental disorders, personality disorders, and substance use disorders.
A total of 93,642 individuals (3.9%) had at least one violent conviction. The distribution of convictions was highly skewed; 24,342 persistent violent offenders (1.0% of the total population) accounted for 63.2% of all convictions. Persistence in violence was associated with male sex (OR 2.5), personality disorder (OR 2.3), violent crime conviction before age 19 (OR 2.0), drug-related offenses (OR 1.9), nonviolent criminality (OR 1.9), substance use disorder (OR 1.9), and major mental disorder (OR 1.3).
The majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by a small number of persistent violent offenders, typically males, characterized by early onset of violent criminality, substance abuse, personality disorders, and nonviolent criminality.
This study surveyed 199 forensic clinicians about the practices that they use in assessing violence risk in juvenile and adult offenders. Results indicated that the use of risk assessment and psychopathy tools was common. Although clinicians reported more routine use of psychopathy measures in adult risk assessments compared with juvenile risks assessments, 79% of clinicians reported using psychopathy measures at least once in a while in juvenile risk assessments. Extremely few clinicians, however, believe that juveniles should be labeled or referred to as psychopaths. Juvenile risk reports were more likely than adult reports to routinely discuss treatment and protective factors, and provide recommendations to reevaluate risk. The implications of these findings are discussed.
The association of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) with criminality, substance-related disorders and conduct disorders has mainly been studied in adult populations. In our study we examine the association in an adolescent population. We used a population-based clinical sample of 508 psychiatric inpatient adolescents from Northern Finland. The prevalences of TBI and criminality were 26 (5.1%) and 85 (16.7%), respectively. The information on TBI was acquired from the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register and on criminality from the Legal Register Center. DSM-IV diagnoses were obtained by interviewing the subjects using the semi-structured Schedule for Affective Disorder and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children, Present and Lifetime (K-SADS-PL). Adolescents with TBI had significantly more often committed crimes compared to adolescents without TBI (53.8% vs. 14.7%, respectively). Prevalences of both violent crimes (42.9% vs. 9.1%) and non-violent crimes (29.4% vs. 6.8%) were also higher in the TBI group. TBI during childhood and adolescence increased the risk of any criminality 6.8-fold (95% 3.0-15.2), conduct disorder 5.7-fold (95% 2.1-15.4) and concomitant criminality and conduct disorder 18.7-fold (95% 4.3-80.1). Our results suggest that clinicians working with mentally ill adolescents who have experienced head injuries should be aware of the increased risk for delinquency and violent tendencies occurring later in the adolescents' lives.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severely disabling condition, associated with substantially increased risk of deliberate self-harm and, particularly in men, also with interpersonal violence and other criminal behavior. Although BPD might be common among prison inmates, little is known about prevalence and psychiatric comorbidity in probationers and parolees.
In 2013, a consecutive sample of 109 newly admitted adult male offenders on probation or parole in all three probation offices of Stockholm, Sweden, completed self-report screening questionnaires for BPD and other psychiatric morbidity. Participants scoring over BPD cut-off participated in a psychiatric diagnostic interview.
We ascertained a final DSM-5 BPD prevalence rate of 19.8% (95% CI: 12.3-27.3%). The most common current comorbid disorders among subjects with BPD were antisocial personality disorder (91%), major depressive disorder (82%), substance dependence (73%), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (70%), and alcohol dependence (64%). Individuals diagnosed with BPD had significantly more current psychiatric comorbidity (M=6.2 disorders) than interviewed participants not fulfilling BPD criteria (M=3.6). Participants with BPD also reported substantially more symptoms of ADHD, anxiety and depression compared to all subjects without BPD.
BPD affected one fifth of probationers and was related to serious mental ill-health known to affect recidivism risk. The findings suggest further study of possible benefits of improved identification and treatment of BPD in offender populations.
Associations between child maltreatment and adult violence, often termed the 'cycle of violence', are well documented. However, the nature of such links after appropriate control for confounding remains uncertain. We aimed to determine whether child maltreatment causes adult violent offending or whether suggested links are due to genetic or family environment confounding.
A total of 18 083 20- to 47-year-old twins from the Swedish population-based Study of Twin Adults: Genes and Environment (STAGE) participated. We linked information on self-reported child maltreatment with national register data on convictions for adult crime. We used a case-control design to elucidate associations among unrelated individuals and also conducted within-discordant twin pair analyses to estimate the influence of familial confounding on this association.
The odds ratio (OR), adjusted for age, sex and education, for violent offending in maltreated children grown up versus unrelated controls was 1.98 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.52-2.57]. However, the association decreased to 1.18 (95% CI 0.62-2.25) when maltreated children were compared to their non-maltreated twins, suggesting substantial confounding by genetic or family environmental factors (within-twin OR1.00). Familial confounding was also pronounced for the association between child maltreatment and any offending.
Childhood maltreatment was found to be a weak causal risk factor for adult violent offending; hence, reducing maltreatment might decrease violent crime less than previously expected. Instead, considerable familial confounding of the link between child maltreatment and adult violent offending suggests that prevention strategies need to address overlapping genetic and/or family environmental liability for abusive and violent behavior.
We undertook a secondary data analysis to study issues relevant to co-occurring mental health and substance disorder in a combined sample of offenders (N = 3,197). Using the Personality Assessment Inventory, we compared the frequency of depressive, traumatic stress, and personality disorder symptom elevations across offenders with and without substance problems, identified the extent to which co-occurring problems were accompanied by risk factors for suicide and aggression, and tested for gender differences. Offenders with substance problems were more likely than others to have increased mental health problems and risk factors for suicide or aggression. Women with substance problems, compared with men, had higher depression, traumatic stress, and borderline features, in addition to lower antisocial features. The frequency with which suicide and aggression risk factors were associated with mental health problems was generally similar across men and women. Measurement issues relevant to co-occurring disorder and risk assessment are discussed.
Offending is known to be associated with various health problems and premature death, but previous studies on associations between offending and mortality have often been only with men, convicted offenders or highly selected samples. A more sensitive measure of offending may be preferable when trying to understand the extent of health disadvantages among people who offend.
The aim of this paper was to study the associations between investigated offending, death and causes of death in a nationally representative birth cohort.
A broad concept of offending was used such that people who had had any contact with the police because they had been suspected of crime were included. Offending data were obtained from the National Police Register for 5405 men and women born in Finland in 1981, spanning their ages 15-30?years; mortality data were received from Statistics Finland. Offending was classified into four categories by frequency: none, 1-4 different offence contacts, 5-27 and 28 or more. Causes of death were categorised into natural, accidents, suicide or homicide. Of the cohort, 2304 (43%) had offended and 57 (1.1%) had died. Associations between offending, mortality and causes of death were analysed, controlling for parental education level and family structure in childhood.
The mortality rate was higher among offenders than non-offenders, increasing with rising frequency of offending. The most frequent offenders were nearly 30 times more likely to have died by age 30 than non-offenders (odds ratio 28.6, confidence interval 12.1-67.5); risk was higher for female than male offenders. Death among offenders was less likely to be from natural causes.
The aim of this investigation was to describe teachers who sexually offend against youth and the circumstances related to these offenses. Archival Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System reports were obtained from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and demographic and criminal characteristics for the offender, as well as information about the victim and offense, were selected for analyses. A descriptive approach was used to analyze the qualitative reports for a group of 113 Canadian sexual offenders between 1995 and 2002. The results provide a description of adult male teachers who offended within their position of trust as well as offense and victim characteristics.
Alcohol use is commonly reported as a short-term criminal risk factor; however there is minimal research on the effects of alcohol dependence on crime. Canadian Aboriginal offenders exhibit both disproportionate crime and alcohol disorder prevalence. This study aims to examine the impact of diagnosed alcohol dependence on Aboriginal ethnicity and criminal sentencing in British Columbia.
We used an administrative linkage database of social, health and justice system variables to develop a retrospective cohort of 70,035 offenders sentenced through courts in British Columbia from 2001-2010. We used a coefficient difference mediation analysis to evaluate the mediating effect of alcohol dependence on the association between self-reported Aboriginal status and sentencing rate.
Aboriginal offenders had 1.92 (95% C.I.: 1.79,2.06) times higher odds of alcohol dependence than Caucasian offenders. Adjustment for health, social and demographic factors resulted in a 27% (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 15%, 33%) reduction in the association of Aboriginal ethnicity on sentencing. Adjustment for alcohol dependence resulted in only a further reduction of 2% (95% CI: -12%, 15%). Although alcohol dependence was associated both with Aboriginal ethnicity and sentencing, it did not have a significant mediating impact on sentencing rate.
Alcohol dependence was not a mediator for the relationship between sentencing rate and Aboriginal ethnicity. However, due to the proportion of offenders diagnosed with alcohol dependence, these results support alcohol misuse as an important public health policy target in this population.
Road rage has been described as a key criminal justice and public health concern. Although research attention to this issue has expanded dramatically, most of this work has focused on the identification of predisposing individual factors. It is equally important to begin to assess those factors that may modify the likelihood of road rage including the broader structural opportunities that are connected with the propensity to be involved in a road rage incident. Drawing on opportunity theory, this article examines whether there is a relationship between increased opportunities to be involved in road rage and an increased likelihood of being a road rage victim or offender. The analysis is further extended to specifically test whether this relationship is linear, thereby examining the applicability of the opportunity saturation hypothesis. Using data from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Monitor, our findings support both the application of opportunity theory to understanding road rage and the presence of opportunity saturation. Although a clear relationship exists between kilometers driven and experiences of road rage, evidence emerged suggesting there may be a threshold whereby increased opportunities for road rage do not lead to road rage behavior.