Profile of forensic psychiatric inpatients referred to the Free State Psychiatric Complex, 2004–2008

C Pienaar, A Dreyer, L van der Merwe, B Jansen van Rensburg, F J W Calitz, L M van der Merwe, G Joubert


Introduction: An accused found unfit to stand trial and/or not responsible for his/her actions because of mental illness, is declared a state patient by the court.

Aim: The aim of the study was to analyse the biographical data and relevant particulars of forensic psychiatric inpatients who were admitted to the Free State Psychiatric Complex (FSPC) according to section 42 of the Mental Health Care Act (no. 17 of 2002), from 2004 to 2008. Study design A descriptive, retrospective study was conducted. Method One hundred and twenty forensic psychiatric inpatients admitted to the FSCP in the terms of section 42 of the Mental Health Care Act in the period 2004–2008, were included in the study.

Results: The majority (95.8%) of the offenders were male, unmarried (83.8%) and unemployed (81.5%). The median age was 32.5 years. Most of the offenses against persons were of a sexual nature (45.8%). More than half (55.5%) of the forensic inpatients were diagnosed with schizophrenia, followed by mental retardation (10%) and bipolar mood disorder. Eighty percent (80%) of these patients were found not competent to stand trial and unaccountable. Fifty percent (50%) of the participants received treatment for a mental illness prior to the crime, and were also known to have poor compliance and defaulted from treatment in the past.

Conclusion: The findings of this study can contribute to implement effective management and training programmes for the benefit of state patients.

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Submitted: 30 September 2010
Published: 01 June 2011

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)