Study: Young convicts worse off mentally

Young criminals often feel worse mentally compared to other young people, new statistics show. Despite this there is no specialized forensic care for young people in Sweden.

Young people that commit serious crimes have a ten-fold greater risk of psychosis than average, new statistics compiled by the Karolinska Institute in Solna show.

The incidence of ADHD and depression is two-five times more common in the group, writes Svenska Dagbladet online.

The new statistics have been compiled by researchers at Karolinska Institute based on 25 surveys undertaken in the USA, Britain, Russia and Spain.

That young criminals feel worse psychologically is not a new theory in itself, but this is the first time that the phenomenon has been researched from actual diagnoses.

Niklas Långström is a child and youth psychiatrist at Karolinska Institute and a co-author of the study.

“Those with criminal tendencies when young tend to do very badly later in life. They get stuck in criminality, they suffer accidents, they are substance abusers, they don’t get any jobs, they beat their families. To catch them in time would be of great benefit,” he said to Svenska Dagbladet.

In Sweden today there is no forensic psychiatric care specifically for young people. Young people sentenced to psychiatric care are instead placed in a clinic for adults.