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May 1969

Criminality and Psychiatric Disorders

Author Affiliations

St. Louis
From the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(5):583-591. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740170087013

THE WIDESPREAD concern over the apparently increasing crime rate needs no documentation. The extent of criminal behavior may be suggested by the following quotation from the 1967 report entitled The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society of the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. "In the United States today, one boy in six is referred to the juvenile court. A Commission survey shows that in 1965 more than two million Americans were received in prisons or juvenile training schools, or placed on probation." The report estimates that the annual cost of crime in the United States is about 21 billion dollars, of which about 4.2 billion dollars are for public expenditures such as police, courts, and prisons.

The role of psychiatry in understanding and modifying this extensive and costly criminal behavior is not clear and is a subject of controversy. Since 1959, the senior author,

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