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Psychiatry and Criminology


The term "psychiatry" was first coined by the German physician Johann Christian
Reil in 1808 and literally means the 'medical treatment of the soul' (psych- "soul"
from Ancient Greek psykh "soul"; -iatry "medical treatment" from
Gk. itrikos "medical" from isthai "to heal").


Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and
treatment of mental disorders. These include various abnormalities related to
mood, behavior, cognition, and perceptions. Initial psychiatric assessment of a
person typically begins with a case history and mental status examination.

Criminology is essentially a branch of Social Science which

applies scientific principles to the study to crime, criminal
behavior, and punishment. In essence, its a branch of
behavioral science in which crime is the behavior that is
Psychiatry and Criminology

Humans have dark side that loves crime and violence. We

all may deny it but the contrary is true. And it applies
regardless of our age, social status, region, religion or
education. The television, movies, sports and many
happenings reported in news papers and magazines are
indicative of our obsession with the fact and fiction of
crime and violence. Modern culture is in fact can be
referred to as the most violent culture in history in the
number of crimes and in the nature brutality.
Theoretical Perspectives on Human Nature
Conformity Perspective

Humans are creatures of conformity who want to do the right

Humans are basically good people trying to live to their fullest
Most members of a given society desire what the other members
of the society desire
The right thing is what the society says is the right thing
Example Strain Theory; Robert K. Merton (1957): Predicts that
crime and delinquency occur when there is a discrepancy goals
cherished by a society and the availability of the legitimate
means for reaching these goals. The strain occurs between the
goals and means of reaching these goals.
Theoretical Perspectives on Human Nature

Nonconformist Perspective

Humans are basically undisciplined creatures who would

commit crime indiscriminately if the constraints of rules and
regulations of a given society did not exist
Human nature must be controlled by society since it is
fundamentally bad or antisocial
Example Social Control Theory; Travis Hirschi (1969): Crime
and delinquency occur when an individuals ties to the
conventional order are weak or nonexistent.
Theoretical Perspectives on Human Nature

Learning Perspective

Humans are born neutral

All behavior, beliefs and tendencies are learned through the social
environment of and individual
Example Social Learning Theory: Imitation of models and reinforcements
one gains from ones behavior.
Example Differential Association Theory; Edwin H. Sutherland (1947):
Criminal behavior is learned through social reaction with other people and
not a result of emotional disturbance, mental illness or innate qualities of
good and bad.
Theoretical Perspectives on Human Nature

Difference-in-kind Perspective

Humans are spiritually, psychologically and mentally different from other


Difference-in-degrees Perspective

Human aggression and violence is a result off innate, biological needs to

obtain sufficient food supplies, territory, status and mates.
Psychiatry and Criminology

Forensic psychiatrists have specialized training

to help them identify and categorize the various
symptoms associated with the subjects mental
disorders. It is usually their work that is utilized
in legal proceedings as a way to assess and
evaluate the suspect, a victim or a witness if it is
deemed appropriate by the court system.
Psychiatry and Criminology

Forensic psychologist tends to focus on

evaluating and measuring the mental capacity of
the criminal defendant, especially as it directly
applies to the crime involved in the case. It is
usually their determination that makes an
assumption of whether or not the defendant is
found to have a sound mind
Psychiatry and Criminology

A psychiatrist is concerned with the

patients well-being, however, their
focus is primarily towards disorders
such as a chemical imbalance, whereas
a psychologist primary focus is on the
patients thoughts, feelings and general
mental health
Psychiatric criminology is also called forensic psychiatry.

America and Europe

Freudian psycho-analytic specialists assume that one must dwell
into the abysses of human personality to find unconscious
determinants of human behavior, including criminal behavior.

Abramsen had noted that the criminal rarely knows completely

the reasons for his conduct or as Roche, emphases that every
criminal is such by reason of unconscious forces within him. In
short overt behaviors are indirectly signals of symbolic dynamic,
underlying attributes. Unconscious defenses distort or disguise
the real meaning of absurd behavior.
Psychiatric criminology has to look beyond the
individuals who have reached the final stage of
the legal process to understand the criminal
mind. There is a filtering as suspect, arrested,
charged, convicted to the ultimate label of
convict, inmate prisoner or criminal shows
funneling effect. That means only fewer and fewer
individuals reach subsequent step in the criminal
justice process, which is called the great pyramid
of legal order or legal iceberg.