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Korean J Schizophr Res > Volume 19(1); 2016 > Article
Korean Journal of Schizophrenia Research 2016;19(1):25-31.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.16946/kjsr.2016.19.1.25    Published online April 30, 2016.
A Comparative Analysis of the Official Crime Statistics of People with Mental Illness and Public Perception.
Jisun Park
Department of Social Psychology, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul, Korea. jsirispark@hotmail.com
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
There exists only a limited number of studies on the people's perception of criminality of people with mental illness. People's fear of the dangerousness of people with mental illness may have been exaggerated, and yet there are few studies exploring whether people's view of the crime rates of mentally ill people are correct or not.
METHODS
A total of 363 college students participated in the present study. The present study first compared the official statistics of the crime rates of the mentally ill with the public perception. In addition, the rates of mentally ill offenders with previous convictions across crime types are compared with people's perception.
RESULTS
Compared to the official crime statistics, people's estimates of crime rates of mentally ill offenders were grossly exaggerated across crime types, including fraud, assault, rape, robbery, theft, homicide, and arson. Furthermore, the rates of mentally ill offenders with previous convictions across all crime types on the official crime statistics were actually higher than people's estimates.
CONCLUSION
The present findings reveal that people's view of the crime rates of mentally ill people is considerably distorted. There is an urgent need to clarify these prejudices in order to help people with mentally illness adjust to society and to prevent them from committing crime.
Key Words: Mental illness · Crime statistics · Crime types · Rates of offenders with previous convictions · Public perception
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