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Mentally disordered offenders in Sweden: differentiating recidivists from non-recidivists in a 10-year follow-up study

Journal article
Authors Hedvig Krona
Marielle Nyman
Helena Andreasson
Nicolas Vicencio
Henrik Anckarsäter
Märta Wallinius
Thomas Nilsson
Björn Hofvander
Published in Nordic Journal of Psychiatry
Volume 71
Issue 2
Pages 102-9
ISSN 0803-9488
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Centre for Ethics, Law, and Mental Health
Pages 102-9
Language en
Keywords Forensic psychiatry, prediction, risk assessment, violent recidivism
Subject categories Psychiatry


© 2016 The Nordic Psychiatric AssociationBackground: Forensic psychiatric patients present a challenge as they manifest severe mental disorders together with criminal behaviour. There are well-known risk factors for criminal behaviour in the general population, yet knowledge of what predicts reconviction in the Swedish forensic population in the long-term perspective is still insufficient. Aims: The study aims to (1) describe background and clinical characteristics of forensic psychiatric patients in a 10-year follow-up, (2) analyse risk factors associated with recidivism, and (3) test the predictive validity of risk factors for general and violent criminality. Methods: Detailed information on all offenders from the Malmö University Hospital catchment area sentenced to forensic psychiatric in-patient treatment from 1999–2005 (n = 125) was collected. Court decisions were collected up until the end of 2008 (median follow-up time = 6.2 years, range = 0.6–9.7 years). Results: Relapse in general crime (n = 30) was predicted by low educational attainment, mental disorder in a first degree relative, and low age at first sentenced crime. Relapse in violent crime (n = 16) was predicted by low educational attainment and low GAF scores. Patients with a restriction order were less likely to relapse in both crime categories. Conclusions: Signs of childhood adversities together with early debut in criminality appeared as important risk factors for general and violent recidivism. Forensic psychiatric treatment combined with a restriction order was demonstrated as a protective factor against recidivism, suggesting that the risk of recidivism is strongly related to the level of supervision. Although the low number of recidivism cases is highly desirable, it unfortunately reduces the power of the analyses in this paper.

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