Ethnic differences between pre-trial suspected offenders
background Black and minority ethnic (bme) patients with a severe psychiatric disorder are compulsory admitted to psychiatric hospitals more often than Dutch native patients.
aim To describe ethnic differences with regard to (1) the prevalence of psychiatric disorders, (2) the degree to which ‘suspects’ are considered to be accountable for their actions and (3) recommended treatment for reported pre-trial suspects.
method 14,540 pre-trial reports in the Netherlands between 2000 and 2006 with a known ethnicity were assessed. Dutch native, Western, Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese, Antillean, and other non-Western defendants were compared with chi-square tests and logistic regression models.
results Psychotic and behavioural disorders were more prevalent among bme suspects, whereas all other psychiatric disorders occurred less frequently in the bme group. Compared to Dutch native suspects, bme suspects were more often deemed to be fully accountable for their actions. Antillean, Moroccan, Surinamese, and other non-Western suspects were more often recommended for compulsory admission to a psychiatric hospital or received no treatment and much less out-patient treatment. There were no ethnic differences with regard to the frequency with which suspects were recommended for compulsory admission to a penitentiary hospital or with regard to medication.
conclusion Compared to Dutch native suspects, bme suspects are, on one hand, more often deemed accountable for their actions but, on the other hand, are more often recommended for compulsory admission to a psychiatric hospital.