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Research Proposal About Genetic Mental Disorders


The present study suggests the need to consider genetic and 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 offences. The criminal justice system treats mentally ill offenders more negatively compared to normal criminals, which minimizes the chances of their recovery to normal paths (Appelbaum and Scurich). Negative events during childhood influence promote violence and criminal behaviours in young people. Child abuse and neglect promote substance abuse, aggression and criminal attitudes in adulthood. Children who undergo traumatic experiences develop negative behaviour 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). The majority of the youth face imprisonment for non-violent crimes. Evidence reveals that adverse childhood events and mental issues influence the criminal behaviours of young people. Jails do not treat offenders with mental disturbances differently, thus eliminating the possibility of giving up criminal behaviours (Morgan, Flora, and Kroner). The present study emphasizes the need for special care for such offenders as it can eliminate negative behaviours and promote the attitudes of good citizens. Adequate rehabilitative programs such as counselling and behavioural therapies are more effective in dealing with mentally unstable offenders as they help them to overcome criminal behaviours.

The Rationale Of The Study

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

Literature Review

Several studies are available that discuss the factors affecting the 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 behaviours. The results suggest the need for rehabilitative treatments to control impulsivity and aggression among offenders. Rehabilitation programs are more effective in improving offenders’ behaviours suffering from genetic disorders and minimising the risks of future crimes. The result is a failure of traditional correctional practices, such as sentencing and other punishments, to control the offensive behaviours of mentally unstable criminals. Rehabilitative programs and behavioural therapy improve the behaviour 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 improve the chances of developing positive behaviours (Morgan, Flora, and Kroner).

Appelbaum and Scurich (2014) studied the impact of childhood memories on mental disorders and criminal behaviours. Childhood abuse, genetic predisposition, and impulsive disorder are common factors promoting aggression in youth. People who encounter childhood abuse are unable to remove them from memories, thus influencing their future lives. Prison sentences in the case of offenders who experienced abuse were longer. The findings revealed that these offenders exhibited feelings of fear and rage. The findings of the study uncovered that offenders who experienced childhood abuse displayed impulsive disorders and face high risks of committing suicide 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 of mental disorders leading to criminal attitudes. The findings depict that offenders having adverse childhood pasts are more vulnerable to substance abuse, aggression, and crimes. Childhood neglect and broken family relationships affect future behaviours. The offenders with complex childhood histories suffered from mental disturbances, depicting the 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 the case of these offenders than strict punishments and sentencing. Treatment and care provide them with an opportunity to overcome aggressive and violent behaviours, thus allowing them to live normal lives. Punishments play negative roles and promote criminal attitudes, representing it as an ineffective measure to control crimes. Offenders with personality disorders also need special care (Rueve and Randon).

Jeff (2017) studied the abuse and mishaps of offensive behaviours. Offenders who encountered adverse events in the past are unable to change their behaviours 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 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 counselling and therapies are more effective for offenders with mental issues (Sossamon). Eagleman (2011) explored the association between adverse childhood memory and offensive behaviours. Traumatic episodes and unfavourable conditions during childhood deteriorate the personality and become a leading cause of mental restlessness among offenders. The study uncovers the impact of past traumatic events on criminal behaviour. The correctional practice of sentences and punishments for offenders undergoing severe impulse disorders is ineffective and plays a negative role in promoting criminal behaviours. 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 behaviour of criminals. It uncovers the relationship between adverse events and criminal attitudes. The study, through the analysis of various research findings, suggests a change in the traditional practice of punishing mentally unstable offenders. The study will highlight the negative impacts of sentencing laws and punishments for offenders exhibiting mental complexities and emphasize adopting rehabilitative programs. Offenders with poor impulse control need special care and behaviour therapies that can also help them overcome criminal attitudes. The study will present recommendations for improving the policies and laws regarding offenders facing mental disorders. Considering the mental conditions of offenders is important during trials 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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