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How family members of mentally ill offenders experience the internment measure and (forensic) psychiatric treatment in Belgium: A qualitative study



How family members of mentally ill offenders experience the internment measure and (forensic) psychiatric treatment in Belgium: A qualitative study



International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 54: 76-82



Mentally ill offenders in Belgium can be subjected to mandated care under an "internment measure" if they are viewed as a danger to society. This study investigated how family members of mentally ill offenders experience this internment measure and view the (forensic) psychiatric treatment of their relative. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 relatives and analysed using Nvivo 11. Six different themes emerged: (1) the criminal offence and the internment measure as an additional stigma, (2) ambivalent feelings towards the judicial system, (3) prison is not the right place to be, (4) mental health support as an answer to problems, (5) fight a losing battle, and (6) while there is life there is hope. The experiences of family members indicate the need for improved treatment guidelines that allow earlier compulsory interventions to prevent crime and preferential admission to (forensic) psychiatric facilities rather than prisons. In addition, family members expressed the need for better communication from mental health professionals and the judicial system during the process and greater availability of peer support.

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Accession: 059810254

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 28528986

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2017.05.003


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