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Ethical Aspects of Long-Stay Forensic Psychiatric Care

  • Peter Hettema
Chapter

Abstract

Forensic psychiatry, as a medical profession within a multidisciplinary field of criminal justice and psychiatry, produces a wealth of moral dilemmas. This chapter will discuss some of these dilemmas, making reference to two of the four principles of biomedical ethics by Beauchamp and Childress: respect for justice and respect for autonomy. These principles will be addressed with the use of case studies. As forensic psychiatry is part of medicine, the principle for the respect of justice poses challenges as medicine is usually concerned with the needs to individual patients, unlike criminal justice where punishment comes into play. Respect for autonomy is a core principle in healthcare. However, in forensic psychiatry autonomy is a complex concept, e.g. due to the involuntary detainment of patients. Discussing ethical dilemmas in the context of forensic psychiatry issues arises at the level of patients, victims and society as a whole; others pose challenges for the system in itself. As the field is a complex field, new moral dilemmas occur on a daily basis and deserve further academic research.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Hettema
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Forensic-Psychiatric TreatmentPompestichtingNijmegenThe Netherlands

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