Prioritizing Research in Forensic Psychiatry: A European Perspective
In general, forensic psychiatry remains an under-researched field with scarce epidemiological and research data. Some important clinical aspects are still pending in all European countries, such as the relationships between the psychiatric diagnoses and the penal codes, the systematic use of standardized tools for diagnosis or evaluation of risk of offending, the implementation of prevention programs in at-risk populations (such as adolescents with antisocial personality disorders or sexual fantasies or activities involving children, etc.), and the monitoring of patient and institution changes using quality of life measures in order to improve care strategies and trajectories in forensic populations.
Systematic use of standardized assessment tools for diagnosis, violence risk measurement, or quality of life should be strongly promoted in European forensic populations. Training of prison mental health caregivers should become a prerequisite for medical staff and other caregivers working in European prisons.
Finally, national and international research on psychiatric prevalence in prisons and on prison mental health care as well as on violence must be increased, and the European Research Council should urgently add this topic to their list of research themes.
KeywordsForensic psychiatry Violence Sex offenders Prison European countries Research
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