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Research Proposal About Genetic Mental Disorder


The present study suggests the need to consider genetic mental disorders and poor impulse control during trials of offenders in criminal proceedings. Offenders with genetic mental disorders exhibit low self-control reflecting their vulnerability to offenses. The criminal justice system treats mentally ill offenders more negatively compared to normal criminals that minimize the chances of their recovery to normal paths (Appelbaum and Scurich). Negative events during childhood influence promote violence and criminal behaviors in young people. Child abuse and neglect promote the substance abuse, aggression and criminal attitudes in adulthood. Children that undergo traumatic experiences develop negative behavior patterns that influence their life choices later. Criminals undergoing mental complexities need treatment, however, the criminal justice systems neglect such consequences. The number of people in American prisons is almost 2 million including 34,000 young people (Minh, Matheson, and Daoud). Majority of the youth face imprisonment for non-violent crimes. Evidence reveals that adverse childhood events and mental issues influence criminal behaviors of young people. Jails do not treat offenders with mental disturbances differently thus eliminating the possibilities of giving up criminal behaviors (Morgan, Flora, and Kroner). The present study emphasizes the need for special care for such offenders as it can eliminate negative behaviors and promote attitudes of good citizens. Adequate rehabilitative programs such as counseling and behavioral therapies are more effective in dealing with mentally unstable offenders as it helps them to overcome criminal behaviors.

The rationale of the study

Several studies have been conducted previously to determine the factors influencing criminal behaviors, the current topic emphasizes on uncovering the role of disturbed childhood history and negative circumstances on criminal attitudes. New studies can be conducted in this area to improve rehabilitation of young criminals exhibiting mental disturbances. The study uncovers the problem of increasing rates of offenders prisoned in US jails while a majority are convicted of less serious crimes. The role of adverse events in lives of offenders helps in understanding their behaviors. The study contributes to the formulation of effective rehabilitative programs and treatments for helping mentally disturbed offenders to overcome offensive behaviors.

Literature review

Several studies are available that discusses the factors affecting criminal attitudes of young offenders and the reasons for indulging themselves in violent and non-violent crimes. Morgan et al., (2012) studied the effectiveness of treatments on offenders with mental instabilities. Results obtained from meta-analysis recognize rehabilitative programs and related treatments as more effective for offenders undergoing mental complications. Poor impulse control and genetic disorder result in low self-control and aggressive behaviors. The results suggest the need for rehabilitative treatments to control impulsivity and aggression among offenders. Rehabilitation programs are more effective in improving offenders behaviors suffering from the genetic disorder and minimize the risks of future crimes. The results a failure of the traditional correctional practices such as sentencing and other punishments to control offensive behaviors of mentally unstable criminals. Rehabilitative programs and behavioral therapy improves the behavior of offenders while interventions help them in overcoming mental illness. Results depict that these treatments are more effective in coping with the problems that offenders face due to mental disorders. Interventions involving direct interaction of offenders with psychiatrists improves the chances of developing positive behaviors (Morgan, Flora, and Kroner).

Appelbaum and Scurich (2014) studied the impact of childhood memories on mental disorders and criminal behaviors. Childhood abuse, genetic predisposition, and impulsive disorder are common factors promoting aggression in youth. People that encounter childhood abuse are unable to remove them from memories thus influencing their future lives. Prison sentences in case of offenders who experienced abuse were longer. The findings revealed that these offenders exhibited feelings of fear and rage. Findings of the study uncover that offenders who experienced childhood abuse displayed impulsive disorders and face high risks of committing suicides in future. However, the criminal justice system does not treat these offenders differently. The results of the study indicate that offenders with complex childhood histories suffer from low self-control and impulsivity making punishments ineffective for them (Appelbaum and Scurich).

Minh et al., (2013) explored the association between childhood neglect and adverse history with mental disorders leading to criminal attitudes. The findings depict that offenders having adverse childhood past are more vulnerable to substance abuse, aggression, and crimes. Childhood neglect and broken family relationships affect the future behaviors. The offenders with complex childhood history suffered from mental disturbances depicting need for rehabilitation. Punishments are inappropriate for offenders undergoing mental instability. Family disorganization and poor parenting are commonly identified factors promoting aggression and violence. The findings also reflected that offenders having negative interactions with their parents during childhood displayed weakened social bonds (Minh, Matheson, and Daoud). Rueve and Radon (2008) determined the relationship between mental illness and violence. The study reveals that offenders with serious mental illnesses need proper care in rehabilitative settings. Rehabilitative programs are more effective in case of these offenders compared to strict punishments and sentencing. Treatment and care provide them an opportunity to overcome aggressive and violent behaviors thus allowing them to live normal lives. Punishments play negative roles and promoted criminal attitudes representing it as an ineffective measure to control crimes. Offenders with personality disorders also the need for special care (Rueve and Randon).

Jeff (2017) studied the abuse and mishaps on offensive behaviors. Offenders that encountered adverse events in past are unable to change their behaviors due to low impulsivity and control. Adversities of past events result in personality disorders that encourage the offenders towards criminal activities. The study identifies the weaknesses of the criminal system that relies on punishments and fails to address their mental in capabilities. Mental stress and trauma influence the actions and pose greater risks for these offenders. the criminal system and officers exhibit discrimination against offenders suffering from mental complexities. Rehabilitative programs such as counseling and therapies are more effective for offenders with mental issues (Sossamon). Eagleman (2011) explored the association between adverse childhood memory and offensive behaviors. Traumatic episodes and unfavorable conditions during childhood deteriorates the personality and becomes a leading cause of mental restlessness among offenders. The study uncovers the impact of past traumatic events on criminal behavior. The correctional practice of sentence and punishments for offenders undergoing severe impulse disorders is ineffective and plays a negative role in promoting criminal behaviors. Punishments for such offenders must be less severe due to their low self-control and brain imbalance. The criminal justice system must treat offenders with mental disorders differently (EAGLEMAN).

Purpose of the research

The purpose of the study is to assess the impact of genetic mental disorders and poor impulse control on the behavior of criminals. It uncovers the relationship between adverse events and criminal attitudes. The study through analysis of various research findings suggests a change in the traditional practice of punishing the mentally unstable offenders. The study will highlight the negative impacts of sentencing laws and punishments of offenders exhibiting mental complexities and emphasize on adopting rehabilitative programs. Offenders with poor impulse control need special care and behavior therapies that can also help them in overcoming criminal attitudes. The study will present recommendations for improving the policies and laws regarding offenders facing mental disorders. Considering mental conditions of offenders is important during trails because mentally disturbed criminals need different treatments.

Work cited

Appelbaum, Paul S., and Nicholas Scurich. “impact Of Behavioral Genetic Evidence On The Adjudication Of Criminal Behavior.” J.” Am Acad Psychiatry Law 42.1 (2014): 91-100.

EAGLEMAN, DAVID. The Brain on Trial. 2011. 16 03 2018 <>.

Minh, Anita, et al. “Linking Childhood and Adult Criminality: Using a Life Course Framework to Examine Childhood Abuse and Neglect, Substance Use and Adult Partner Violence .” Int J Environ Res Public Health 10.11 (2013): 5470–5489.

Morgan, Robert D., et al. “Treating Offenders With Mental Illness: A Research Synthesis.” Law and Human Behavior 36.1 (2012): 37-50.

Sossamon, Jeff. “Criminal Offenders With Genetic Mental Disorders Judged More Negatively.” (2017).

Rueve, Marie E, and Welton S Randon. “Violence And Mental Illness.” Psychiatry (Edgemont) 5.5 (2008): 34-48.



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