Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder

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Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorders
Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD) is a program established in the United Kingdom, after a high-profile case of Michael Stone. Several years before Mr. Stone killed a mother and her child, he was diagnosed with ‘untreatable’ personality disorder. (Batty, 2002). He was not detained due to UK’s Mental Health Act of 1983, which states that patients are only allowed to be committed if the psychiatrists believed that the person is treatable and many doctors don’t believe that personality disorder is. (Batty, 2002). When it was first established, DSPD was controversial because it had no legal or medical basis and it was very vaguely defined. (Batty, 2002). Back in 2000, the British Journal of Psychiatry surveyed 1200 psychiatrists and found out that two-thirds disagreed with it and a third said they might boycott it. (Batty, 2002). When DSPD was first introduced, it was met with overwhelming opposition; now that it is being scaled down, this article will review the positive and negative aspects of this initiative.

On a theory that “…a small number of offenders are responsible for a disproportionate number of offences…” the DSPD was a way to find and take action against those individuals; whether it was to incarcerate them or to treat them. (Duggan, 431). As functional as that assumption was, it was also assumed that such dangerous offenders all had severe personality disorder, which is incorrect. (Duggan, 431). There were three characteristics that identified such individuals: (1) present a significant risk of causing serious physical or psychological harm (2) having a severe personality disorder and (3) having a link between “… dangerousness and personality disorder (in two or more offences/prison behaviour).” (Duggan, 431). There were several positive aspects to this program. The first was that the criteria for psychopathic disorder were under scrutiny. ‘Psychopathic disorder’ was not scientifically...
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