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Criminal Recidivism and Mental Illness Perspectives from Durkheim and Goffman

Rachael Aufdenkampe
Ohio Northern University

Mental illness is examined from a psychological, biochemical, and sociological point of view.  What I have found in my own research experiences and in previous studies, criminal recidivism for those with mental illness or addiction problems is quite high.  Criminal behavior is often comorbid with some form of mental illness.  Social constraints are also reasons as to why crimes are committed; the have-nots steal from the have-everythings.  The sociological point of view in regards to mental illness focuses on how social factors interact in the formation, prolonging, and treatment of mental illness.  This is of substantive importance because mental health is a topic that is closely paid attention to in society, but little work appears to be done.  This presentation encompasses theories from classical to contemporary sociology, namely the works for Durkheim and Goffman, on the exploration of mental illness and how it relates to criminal recidivism.