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Demographic and Historical Factors in Violent and Nonviolent Offenders with Psychotic Disorders

11 December 2009


The purpose of this study was to explore historical or demographic factors of inmates diagnosed with a psychotic disorder as well as to assess whether any of these factors distinguish violent and nonviolent offenders diagnosed with mental illness. The sample consisted of 73 male inmates who had been released from Oregon Department of Corrections before 2004. Of these, 44 had been convicted of nonviolent crimes and 29 had been convicted of violent crimes. Inmates’ institutional and medical files were examined for 18 factors: conviction, arrest record, race, marital status, employment history, highest grade level completed, psychiatric treatment before arrest, inpatient treatment, psychiatric medication history, probation or parole revocation, history of disciplinary reports, age of first crime, age of onset of psychosis, parents’ marital status before participant reached the age of 18, history of abuse, history of substance abuse, family history of crime, and violence before the age of 18.

The results of a frequency analysis showed large differences (10% or more) between nonviolent and violent inmates for the following variables: race, marital status, parents’ marital status, type of parent/guardian figure present in the childhood home, unemployment 6 months before arrest, age of psychotic onset, revocation of probation or parole, disciplinary reports, and history of violence. A chi square analysis was conducted to determine if there were any significant differences in the variables between violent and nonviolent offenders. There was a significant difference in age of psychotic onset. Inmates in the violent group more often experienced psychotic onset between the ages of 15 to 19 than at younger or older ages, whereas inmates in the nonviolent group more often experienced psychotic onset before the age of 15 and between the ages of 20 to 29.


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