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Criminology

Legal And Cultural Aspects Of Crime In Africa

Cultural factors can affect behavioural approaches and personal beliefs, needs, values, and desires a person has in life. For many decades in Africa, the majority of the population was subjected to manifestly unjust rulings to keep them as hewers of wood or drawers of water. Comprehensibly, a “culture” of flouting, resisting, subverting, and patently disregarding such laws grew, abetted, and aided by unconcerned law enforcement, whose objective was that the masses be kept in fear.

The reasons could be attributed to an increase in the number of police forces that led to a decline in organized crime, but the main reason, according to research, is that actual violence has reduced; it has only changed its geography and nature. A warning in organized crime has been witnessed, but generally, crime rates have swollen with a greater increase observed more in slums, pointing to the fact that organized crime has reduced due to state policies but has given rise to non-organized crime (Green).

Competency to stand trial is used to determine if a defendant can understand the proceedings when he will be made to stand at a trial, whereas sanity is used to define if a defendant can be held accountable for his illegal actions.

The four legal standards of insanity include “the M’Naghten Rule,” which applies if a person does not know right from wrong at the time of an unlawful act. The “Irresistible Impulse Test” is applied if a perpetrator commits an offence due to an “irresistible impulse.” “The Durham Rule” is applied if a crime is the result of a mental defect. “The Model Penal Code” applied to tackle some of the limitations of the tests above.

Symptoms of the four diagnostic categories most relevant to criminal behaviour include Schizophrenic disorders, mood disorders, Paranoid or delusional disorders, and antisocial personality disorder.

“Guilty But Mentally ill” means that the defendant is considered to have been found guilty but is admitted to a mental health facility instead of being imprisoned if his symptoms demonstrate a need for psychiatric therapy. Critics claim that it takes away the difficult decisions judges are expected to make. Secondly, it is unlikely for someone with a GBMI verdict to get meaningful or useful treatment while imprisoned.

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