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Schizophrenia and The Forensic Population

Schizophrenia and The Forensic Population

Mental disorders are rather complex, and they are frequently not fully understood. While mental disorders are prevalent throughout society, the forensic population is also tasked with treating and managing such populations. Psychotic disorders, in particular, such as schizophrenia, are critical to comprehend because the causes and symptoms exhibit abnormalities critical to comprehending the schizophrenia spectrum. General knowledge about schizophrenia addresses not only physiological factors that may contribute to its development but also how schizophrenia and crime may be related. There are interventions available to help the populations specifically affected by such disorders in correctional settings treat schizophrenia as effectively as possible.

Symptoms Related to Schizophrenia Diagnostic Criteria

Individuals suffering from psychotic disorders not only have abnormal thinking and perception, but they also lose touch with reality. Certain criteria of symptoms must be present in order to formally diagnose one with a specific mental illness when it comes to the diagnosis of mental illnesses. In terms of schizophrenia diagnosis, the DSM-5, also known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, emphasizes symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech as symptoms related to the diagnostic criteria, which must exist in order to formally apply the diagnosis of schizophrenia (APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2019). Disorganized behaviors or behaviors displaying confusion or unawareness, as well as other negative symptoms, are associated with schizophrenia symptoms. Fundamentally, schizophrenia manifests symptoms of disconnection from reality, in which individuals suffering from such a condition or psychotic disorder are unaware of their actions. Symptoms related to schizophrenia diagnostic criteria show psychological factors that are sequentially related to the development of schizophrenia.

Physiological Factors Related to Schizophrenia Development

When it comes to physiological factors, psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia can be induced by other pre-existing or co-occurring conditions. In relation to the development of schizophrenia, the use of alcohol and other substances can cause an imbalance in cognition, which is already influenced by the disorder of schizophrenia, causing psychological factors. As a result, the use of alcohol and other substances only has physiological consequences, skewing and warping the cognition and judgment of those already suffering from such psychotic disorder by inducing psychotic symptoms and further impairing their rational thinking (Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders, 2013). Physiological factors that contribute to the development of schizophrenia include changes in an individual’s understanding, fear, and perception of the outside world. Given this disconnect, additional research has been conducted to assess the relationship between schizophrenia and forensic populations.

The Connection Between Schizophrenia and Crime

Much research has been conducted to examine the relationship between schizophrenia and criminality in order to determine the extent to which such a psychotic disorder influences violent behaviors. According to a review of this, the majority of those with schizophrenia are nonviolent and are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. In any case, schizophrenia raises the risks of engaging in criminal activity because those affected by schizophrenia frequently have co-occurring conditions such as substance abuse, antisocial personality disorders, homelessness, and/or other factors that contribute to criminal behavior (Walsh & Yun, 2013). Furthermore, clinical features of schizophrenia can be noted and considered when assessing the relationship between schizophrenia and crime, where deviant behavior, anger, and aggression can occur as a result of delusions and hallucinations, as well as the nature of such a psychotic disorder. As a result of the nature of schizophrenia, as well as its brain wiring and co-occurring conditions, unusual behaviors do occur in tandem, which can result in criminal convictions where a person diagnosed with schizophrenia may engage in committing a violent crime as a result. To avoid omitting such behavior, individuals suffering from such psychotic disorders can receive treatment specific to their condition when placed in correctional settings.

Interventions for Schizophrenia Treatment in a Correctional Setting

There are protocols in place for dealing with specific interventions related to treating people with schizophrenia in correctional settings. Those working in such settings must be equipped with crisis intervention and de-escalation skills related to the signs and symptoms of psychotic disorders, as those suffering from such disorders frequently exhibit unpredictable abilities. When confronted with a crisis or the need to de-escalate, some signs and symptoms can be observed, and professionals in the field must not only respond appropriately but also enforce protection while accurately assessing the mentally ill individuals at hand (Walsh & Yun, 2013). When it comes to schizophrenia, there is no treatment available. However, there is treatment available for how schizophrenia can be managed in the future. Antipsychotic medication, in conjunction with psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, is a common treatment option for such mental illnesses. Additionally, community treatment and support therapy are encouraged (Schizophrenia, 2020). Those suffering from schizophrenia are also helped by learning self-management strategies and receiving proper education about their condition, which not only helps them understand the nature of their condition but also how to apply coping skills in successfully managing the disorder in order to improve their quality of life as much as possible.


Schizophrenia is a common psychotic disorder characterized by changes in behavior, as well as a disconnection from reality, delusions, and hallucinations, all of which contribute to the diagnostic criteria of schizophrenia. While physiological factors do influence the development of schizophrenia, such factors can be linked to coexisting conditions such as substance abuse or other disorders, ultimately influencing physiological factors. As a result, the link between schizophrenia and crime can be assessed, as those suffering from such psychotic disorders are frequently the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators. However, factors can influence the occurrence of violence, which can then lead to criminal activity. Interventions specific to treating schizophrenia are in place in correctional settings to respond appropriately through crisis intervention and de-escalation, supporting the safety and protection of those involved, surrounded, and affected by this disorder.


APA Dictionary of Psychology. (2019). American Psychological Association. Retrieved from

Schizophrenia. (2020). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from

Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Retrieved from

Walsh. A., Yun. I. (2013). Schizophrenia: Causes, Crime, and Implications for Criminology and Criminal Justice. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 41(2) Retrieved from


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To prepare for this assignment:

Review Chapter 16 in the course text Handbook of Forensic Mental Health with Victims and Offenders: Assessment, Treatment, and Research. Reflect on potential cultural considerations and challenges related to working with diverse forensic populations.

Schizophrenia and The Forensic Population

Schizophrenia and The Forensic Population

Review the APA Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services to Ethnic, Linguistic, and Culturally Diverse PopulationsLinks to an external site. Consider the importance of applying these guidelines to the treatment of forensic populations. Focus on specific guidelines that relate to treating diverse forensic populations.

Review the article “The Place of Culture in Forensic Psychiatry” in this week’s Learning Resources. Focus on how culture may impact the treatment of forensic populations.

Review the article “Ethics and Multiculturalism: Advancing Cultural and Clinical Responsiveness” in this week’s Learning Resources. Think about the importance of diversity awareness as it relates to ethical standards in forensic treatment settings.

Identify a culturally diverse forensic population that is of particular interest to you.
Conduct an academic literature search in the Walden Library and select at least one scholarly article from a peer-reviewed journal that discusses the unique characteristics, considerations, and/or challenges related to working with this population in a forensic setting.

Consider the unique characteristics of your selected forensic population and reflect on what you should consider when treating members of this population.

Consider the challenges that you might encounter when working with a client from your selected population and how you would address these challenges.

The assignment (1–2 pages):

Cite the research article and state the specific diverse population that you researched.

Briefly summarize the research article and explain how the role of culture is addressed in the treatment of the specific forensic population in the study.

Analyze the role of culture in the treatment of forensic populations, in general. Use specifics from your selected research article to support your analysis.

Explain the challenges you might encounter when working with a client from this population and state how you would address these challenges.
(Note: Be sure to protect the identity of any persons you may refer to.)


Handbook of Forensic Mental Health with Victims and Offenders: Assessment, Treatment, and Research

Chapter 16, “Overrepresentation of African Americans Incarcerated for Delinquency Offenses in Juvenile Institutions”

Gallardo, M. E., Johnson, J., Parham, T. A., & Carter, J. A. (2009). Ethics and multiculturalism: Advancing cultural and clinical responsivenessLinks to an external site. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 40(5), 425–435.

Kirmayer, L. J., Rousseau, C., & Lashley, M. (2007). The place of culture in forensic psychiatry. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the LawLinks to an external site., 35(1), 98–102. Retrieved October 30, 2009, from

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