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ON FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIC DESCRIPTION OF PERSONS ACCUSED OF MURDERS

P. T. Petryuk, A. V. Kanishchev, V. M. Shevelyov, V. V. Kovalenko, O. V. Avramenko, Y. V. Prikhodko, T. A. Kostereva, O. Y. Dishlevoy, O. P. Karpova

* Publication details:
Petryuk, P. T., Kanishchev, A. V., Shevelyov, V. M., Kovalenko, V. V., Avramenko, O. V., Prikhodko, Y. V., Kostereva, T. A., Dishlevoy, O. Y., Karpova, O. P. (2001). On forensic psychiatric description of persons accused of murders. In: Serial Murders and social aggression: what will expect us in the 21st century? 3rd International Conference, 18–21 September 2001. A Book of Abstracts, pp. 271–273. Rostov-na-Donu: Phoenix.

The paper is dedicated to the investigation of criminal aggression in the form of homicidal behavior. This is a problem of national concern, which is studied by the specialists in different fields. Our investigation was done on 519 persons, predominantly males, aged from 16 to 80, which were accused of murders and underwent forensic psychiatric examination at the Interregional Center of Forensic Psychiatry of Kharkiv Municipal Clinical Hospital No. 15 from 1960 to 2000.

It is notable that this category of accused is characterized by both the great amount and high proportion among other accused. Thus, during 2000 there were 206 persons accused of murders, that accounted for 10.2% of all accused which were under forensic psychiatric examination; accordingly in 1990 108 persons (7.5%), in 1980 55 persons (3.6%), in 1970 61 persons (6.7%), in 1960 89 persons (13.3%).

Besides, there is a trend of reasonable decrease of irresponsible accused: 8 persons (3.9%) in 2000, 4 persons (3.7%) in 1990, 13 persons (23.6%) in 1980, 7 persons (11.5%) in 1970, 12 persons (13.5%) in 1960. One can observe considerable increase of persons accused of three or more murders: 6 persons (2.9%) in 2000, 2 persons (1.9%) in 1990, 1 person (1.8%) in 1980, 1 person (1.6%) in 1970 and 1 person (1.1%) in 1960.

Correspondingly there is an uptrend in number of accused with insignificant mental disorders and mentally healthy individuals: in 2000 198 persons (96.1%), in 1990 104 persons (96.3%), in 1980 42 persons (76.4%), in 1970 54 persons (88.5%) and in 1960 77 persons (86.5%). Criminogenic role of alcohol dependence is seen in the frequency of criminal behavior in alcohol abusers. Patients with alcohol dependence accounted for more than 1/4 (26.6%) of all accused. Alcoholic intoxication is found to be the common precipitating factor of the crime (136 persons in 2000 68.7% of all responsible accused, accordingly 61 persons 58.7% in 1990, 16 persons 38.1% in 1980, 25 persons 46.3% in 1970, 35 persons 45.5% in 1960).

These patterns reflect, on the one hand, certain changes in methodological approach in forensic psychiatry, and on the other hand general unfavorable criminal situation, in particular higher risk of criminal involvement of individuals with behavioral changes (that do not deprive them of their responsibility).

The basic influence of psychological and microsocial factors on the perpetration of felonies is universally recognized. But their contribution to realization of delinquent behavior is particularly significant for persons with slight mental disorders. Thus, in most cases there is specific constellation of the above mentioned factors with psychopathological phenomena.

So far, however, delinquent behavior of murderers is described mostly in popular, criminological and psychological literature; psychiatric investigations of this problem are limited. It is obvious that most adequate results can be obtained from inter-branch investigations. At the same time special psychiatric approaches are still needed.

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Ukrainian Psychiatry News, 2001
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ISSN 1990–5211