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Crime and mental disorders among native Dutch and ethnic minority juvenile defendants in the Netherlands

Authors
Journal
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
0160-2527
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
34
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2011.02.008
Keywords
  • Ethnicity
  • Youth
  • Mental Disorder
  • Criminal Responsibility
  • Stereotyping
Disciplines
  • Psychology

Abstract

Abstract We examined the prevalence of mental disorders and the recommendations regarding criminal responsibility and treatment in pre-trial mental health evaluations requested by Dutch juvenile courts for youths between the ages of 12 to 17. Youths of native Dutch (n = 2694) and of ethnic minority background (n = 1393) were compared. The prevalence of mental disorders was similar for both groups (76.8% versus 74.4%). Criminal responsibility in native Dutch youth was more often considered ‘diminished’ or ‘strongly diminished’ than in ethnic minority youth. Admission to a juvenile institution was more often recommended for ethnic minority juveniles than for native Dutch juveniles. It remains unclear from our data whether these differences reflect a false stereotype of ethnic minority populations as being more dangerous and threatening.

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